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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2174 ..

MR HIRD: We heard it from Keating. Now we hear it from Beazley.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Question, please.

MR HIRD: Can the Chief Minister advise the parliament whether Mr Quinlan's claims are correct and, just as important, whether he is any better with figures, the rubbery ones, than Mr Berry was?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Hird for the question. It really is hard to believe that Mr Quinlan could get it wrong quite as often as Mr Berry, but he seems to be managing it. Earlier this month we saw press release mark 1 from Mr Quinlan headed up, as Mr Hird said, "Coalition is Worse for the Territory", in which he stated that the figures were independently reviewed. He independently reviewed the impact of both the Coalition and the Labor Party tax packages. He did not say who the independent reviewer was, but it is not hard to see why when you look at how dodgy the figures are. I note that we now have a "Coalition is Worse for the Territory" mark 2 press release which is no better. It seems that the independent reviewer - - -

Opposition members interjected.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Moore's answers were heard in silence by the Opposition. I ask that the same courtesy be extended to the Chief Minister.

MS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Let me get to the heart of Mr Quinlan's claims. In his release he stated:

Using the ACT Budget and OFM's most conservative assumptions we have found that the net effect of the Coalition's package is an additional $57 million. This compares to $108 million under the Labor Party's proposal.

Mr Speaker, I have lost count of the number of times I have had to give some accounting lessons to Mr Berry, but I think it is all a bit tragic that Mr Quinlan needs accounting lessons as well. If Mr Quinlan had contacted my office, we could have helped him through the figures, helped him to understand the situation and saved him from getting his figures so fundamentally wrong not once but twice. He was wrong, at least in the first go, to the tune of about $115m. That is not a minor drop in the ocean. He was $115m wrong in one press release.

There are so many fundamental errors in his calculation that it is hard to know where to start. The most obvious blunder was Mr Quinlan's estimates of the revenue that would be lost when a range of State-based taxes were abolished and replaced with a GST. I understand why those opposite do not want to listen, but this is pretty important to the ACT. Mr Quinlan took it upon himself to abolish two taxes that are not earmarked to go. He just decided to get rid of an extra two. He got rid of the stamp duty on residential conveyancing and the stamp duty on insurance.

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