Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 859 ..
Mr Moore: Very conservative.
MS CARNELL: We were very conservative. Not only are we likely to record growth well ahead of our original estimates but the ACT could end up outperforming every other State. But remember that, according to the Labor Party, this budget was built on fairy floss. Mr Stanhope said it was a cruel hoax. But Mr Stanhope did not stop there. In the same very stilted budget reply he said:
It is not clever, because it is based upon unrealistic forecasts and because the Chief Minister's explanations are simply not credible.
He said it was not a clever budget, because it was based on unrealistic forecasts. Mr Stanhope, the current leader of those opposite, went on:
This is a budget that develops a logic based on unsustainable forecasts. This is a budget that will collapse when the forecasts cannot be met.
He went on and on about it, probably because he could not find anything else that he thought was wrong with the budget.
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I refer you to standing order 118, and in particular your powers to sit a person down if they have had sufficient opportunity to answer the question. In raising that with you, Mr Speaker, I draw your attention to what appears to be four or five typewritten pages for the Chief Minister's answer. If we have to face the tedium of that, I think it would be fair enough if it were just tabled and included in the Hansard. Then we could all read it at our leisure, those of us who would wish to - and I do not think there would be many.
MR SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order.
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I think Mr Berry's point of order took longer than I have taken on my feet.
MR SPEAKER: The answer is no longer than some of the questions that have been asked today, or indeed the answers given.
Mr Berry: When was the last time, Mr Speaker, that you saw anybody on this side stand up with a five-page question?
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I understand why those opposite are embarrassed and why Mr Berry wants to walk away, but there was nothing grey or fuzzy about Mr Stanhope's comments, was there? They were categorical. There was no doubt that in the Labor Party's mind we had fiddled the books and therefore the budget was unrealistic. What does that say about Mr Stanhope's credibility? What does that say about his capacity to understand budgeting? All members have had available to them the latest financial report, which covers our budget to the end of January - in other words, seven months of data for this financial year. What does it show? Our financial statements show that at the end of January the Territory was slightly ahead of budget