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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1612 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

the operating loss. What my colleagues in Cabinet said, and what I believe Mr Kaine said as well, during that election campaign was that we ought to be tackling the operating loss. It is something that we could not ignore. Your side of politics over there said that you were happy to ignore it. You had a different approach.

The responsibility is very clear here. The responsibility on the crossbenches is very clear. There is a responsibility to support a budget Bill. It is always easy for the crossbenchers to say, "Well, we do not like this. We do not like this one. Therefore we are going to vote against it". Take some genuine responsibility about it and realise that when a government puts its budget together there is an integrated set of circumstances; it is a way of dealing with money. When we look at the Estimates Committee's report, it is always easy to spend money. There are always ideas about how to spend money. The difficult part is raising the money and keeping the budget in a reasonable set of circumstances so that, in the future, when our children and their children are dealing with issues of state and making such decisions, they are not encumbered by huge debt. If things are left as they are, in the way you would have done, that will be the result.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (11.50): Mr Speaker, let us talk about equity. I think it is a very important issue here. I am fascinated by the argument that Ms Tucker and those opposite put on what would be an equitable way to levy this $10m. We have not heard exactly what they think would be equitable. What I have heard today from the people over on that side who have spoken is that it is inequitable because it only hits people who insure. Therefore, we should hit everybody. It is inequitable because people who - - -

Ms Tucker: If you are going to do it you need to hit everybody.


Ms Tucker: If you are going to impose it. That is the argument that has been put. Your choice.

MS CARNELL: Okay. No, no. The ACT budget needs the $10m. I assume that everybody, including Mr Kaine, would accept that we do need to address the operating loss. The argument that those opposite have run is that is inequitable, not that we do not need the money. Not even Ms Tucker said in her speech that we do not need the money. She said it was inequitable. Mr Quinlan said it was inequitable. Mr Kaine said it was inequitable. So what did they say? Did they say that we should have a poll tax? Bring forward the legislation. Roll it in. That would be equitable, would it not? We could hit every household in Canberra with the same amount of money.

Mr Kaine: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Chief Minister obviously was not listening. I did make a proposal, and that was that there be a levy on the rates bill. That is not a poll tax.

MR SPEAKER: Very well. There is no point of order.

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