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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1817 ..

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I think Mr Wood, if he has a look at Hansard, will find that he said, "What did you say?". I am very happy to tell him exactly what I said.

MR SPEAKER: I think it is difficult for the Chief Minister to explain what she may have got if she has not explained what she was explaining to the Prime Minister in this respect.

MRS CARNELL: I showed the Prime Minister what is happening to unemployment rates in the ACT and that we are now virtually in line with national averages, with potentially another 6,000-plus redundancies supposedly on the Federal Government's books in the ACT.

Mr Wood: Mr Speaker, I raise a further point of order. I do not think it is acceptable for this Chief Minister or any Minister to distort the question and turn the question around to what they want to say. I did not ask what she said; I asked what the Prime Minister said. I think it is bad for this Assembly if the Chief Minister deliberately turns it around to something else.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

MRS CARNELL: I am very happy to answer the next part of the question. I think Mr Wood will find that he did ask, "What did you say?". I did explain the whole situation that we are facing in the ACT now. The Prime Minister expressed concern. He said that he understood that the ACT had some very special needs. He said that there would be no special deals for any States whatsoever. He said that the reason that there would be no special deals was the $8 billion black hole that he inherited from the previous Labor Government and that the Federal Government believe that they simply have to plug if we are to ensure that this country is competitive. I am in no way defending the Federal Government's view with regard to redundancies in Canberra. I think the approach that they have taken with regard to redundancies in the ACT will cause enormous problems for our city. I made that extremely clear to the Prime Minister.

MR WOOD: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. The Chief Minister once again falls back on excuses - - -

MR SPEAKER: No preamble.

MR WOOD: The Chief Minister once again falls back on excuses, Mr Speaker. I do not like the new rules that you bring into this Assembly now that you are in government.

MR SPEAKER: Sit down, Mr Wood. Mr Wood, you are out of order. Withdraw that remark.

MR WOOD: I will withdraw that remark so that I can ask my supplementary question. Chief Minister, given that you have had two entirely unsuccessful meetings with the Prime Minister in which you have achieved precisely nothing, would you be surprised now if the ACT community concluded that your arranging of the meetings was nothing but a publicity stunt to conceal the fact that you have been unable to win any concessions from your political colleagues for whom you campaigned so vigorously?

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