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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (9 March) . . Page.. 399 ..

Mr Stanhope: Quite rightly, too.

MS CARNELL: Mr Stanhope says, "Quite right". Mr Speaker, if you do not put those revenue measures on, then the same amount has to come off the expenditure. That means jobs. If you did not raise Mr Humphries' $10m from the insurance levy, that means $10m either falling to the bottom line, an increase in the operating loss, or job losses. Let us be real for a moment, Mr Speaker. Let us get some sensible debate on what we are talking about here. We are a minority government. This Assembly, therefore, has a joint responsibility to the people of the ACT to protect the quality of life in the future.

MR SPEAKER: Before I call the Leader of the Opposition, I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of students from Lake Ginninderra College. Welcome to your Assembly.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (11.22): Over the past week or so there has been a good deal of media coverage of the tenth anniversary of self-government in the ACT. Some of that, regrettably, has focused on the equivocal reputation that the Assembly earned in its early, more chaotic days. Some of the reflections of past proceedings of this place, regrettably, have bordered on the bizarre. Today's debate will, I fear, be added to the list of idiosyncratic behaviour in this place. I do regret, Mr Speaker, that all I detected from the Chief Minister's long and rambling apologia was a lament about how hard it all is, that it really is just too hard.

Mr Speaker, despite the Chief Minister's best efforts to sell today's debate as a challenge, an opportunity for the Opposition and the crossbench to help fix the Territory's financial problems, it really is, and has been oft-repeated by members from all round the Assembly, nothing more than a stunt - bizarre and, I am prepared to concede, perhaps even politically clever; but, nevertheless, a stunt - the purpose of which is to seek to share the blame for another slug on the people of Canberra. The Chief Minister has already flagged when the slug will occur. From the moment she lost the ACTEW debate, the moment this Assembly delivered its resounding rebuff of her plans to sell the Territory's largest asset, the Chief Minister planned her payback. In her habitual misleading fashion, the Chief Minister has warned of the hard decisions and the tough budget that lie ahead. From the moment the Chief Minister lost the ACTEW debate, she put Canberra on notice. Today's debate is just a part of that process.

Mr Speaker, I may have overstated the nature of today's debate. Today's debate may not be the most bizarre this chamber has seen, but it certainly rates with other occasions which, with the benefit of hindsight, have proven to be rather surreal. I refer in that regard, Mr Speaker, to the four occasions on which the Chief Minister, as Treasurer, has presented her Government's budgets. The first of those was on 19 September 1995. That was the Chief Minister's first budget, a budget she characterised as "a tough budget but not a horror budget". Isn't it interesting, Mr Speaker, how the language remains the same? A tough budget but not a horror budget was the language of 1995. You will recall, Mr Speaker, that that was the budget which introduced the can-do culture to the ACT. That is the culture which so characterises this Government. That is the culture

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