Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1533 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
market Canberra as a business destination to attract new businesses to Canberra so that they can offer jobs to redundant workers. We could have kept them in the Public Service in the first place and kept the expertise.
You also have to wonder whether the expenditure on some of the items in this budget is really worth while when there are cuts in the key portfolios of education and health. For example, the Government wants to spend $575,000 for Christmas and new year parties. I heard Mr Brendan Smyth say at question time how they are a fun party. Mr Moore said, "We are a party party". It is quite offensive when in the same question time this "caring government" refuses to say that it has looked at the equity implications of its revenue-raising measures. This is a government that is not caring. This is a government that needs to be called to task on this budget.
There are real questions around revenue from the gambling tax. The gambling committee looked at taxation and the obvious concern that comes from everybody. I noted it even in the editorial of the Canberra Times, which the Government does so love to quote. They said, "Why are we becoming more and more dependent on gambling revenue?". If we increase taxation we are increasing our reliance. That is why the committee did not recommend such an increase in taxation. It is once again a very short-sighted revenue-raising measure.
In conclusion, if we want to have confidence in how government is addressing the issues that we have to address in the ACT, we have to see a much more sophisticated approach to policy than just this obsession with the bottom line and talking numbers. Some things are not easy to quantify, but some things matter just as much. If we do not acknowledge that and get more serious about looking at those quality issues, future generations will pay for the actions of this Government.
MR QUINLAN (7.54): It is typical of the style of this Government that this year's budget would have a corny handle attached to it, the "full monty". The enduring characteristics of the Carnell style have been shallow and often crass, glitz and PR spin. Why should 1999 be any different? In searching for my own label for this budget, I find two apparently unrelated labels coming to mind. They are "unremarkable" and "disturbing".
The "unremarkable" label comes to mind when you look at the absence of any initiatives of substance. For all the hype and self-adulation that are this Treasurer, there is nothing in this budget for the average citizen of Canberra. Granted there is, mainly perforce of windfall gains in Federal funding, a reduction in the operating deficit. On the other hand, the general rating formula has been tweaked again to favour those in high-value areas at the expense of those who are less well off. This is regressive taxation that is the hallmark of your average Liberal government.
Ms Carnell's antipathy towards the club industry has taken material shape in the form of additional taxes and restrictions being applied to distributions of earnings. The club industry's major crime has been to have in its ranks the Labor Club Group, which provides a level of support for her opponents. All must pay for this sin. The Labor Party has demonstrated an ability to build, promote and manage a very substantial enterprise, something that I very much doubt that the little Liberal gang over there would have much