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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 1991 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

What I need to ask, Mr Speaker, is this: What kind of message does this send to the community? Those who have not got that swank an income are being asked to pay ever-increasing charges every day in every aspect of their lives, but people who make money out of change of circumstances with leases are being encouraged by this Government to pay less. It seems to me that if we are in tight circumstances, and recognising any sort of disincentive which may apply - like my colleagues, I do not believe that a disincentive does apply - we need to recognise that those who have a substantial amount of money, and a substantial amount of opportunity to make even more, ought to be contributing significantly to the public purse.

We should not be constantly going back and asking people like the people who live down in Chisholm, Richardson and Conder to pay more in ever-increasing bus fares. We should not change the bus zone system so the schoolkids' fares go up 160 per cent, or put up their rates, or increase ordinary costs like pound fees, registration charges and things like that and let these guys that have a quid off the hook. Now is not the time to be doing that. If in fact we are in a slump, the public purse needs to be addressed by people who can contribute to it, not those that cannot.

This, to me, just smacks of Robin Hood stuff in reverse - robbing the poor to pay the rich. I just cannot see it in a philosophical sense. I think it is wrong philosophically and I think it is wrong in timing. I rose to oppose Mr Smyth's amendments and to support Mr Corbell's motion. I urge members to consider the community when they are actually doing this.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (12.37): Mr Speaker, I will make a brief contribution to this debate. I am a bit amused by the logic that says that because the Government took longer than it should to produce the report we will now take a longer time to do the report over. You know, "We wanted the result of this by the middle of this year. It had to be available". They were demanding this result and now they are saying, "Oh, let's leave it till the end of the year. We don't really need it now".

MR SPEAKER: Order! The extended time allotted to Assembly business has expired.

Motion (by Mr Berry ), by leave, agreed to:

That the time allotted to Assembly business be extended until 1.00 pm.

MR HUMPHRIES: So, Mr Speaker, we have this funny position. We had to speed this thing up earlier this year; now we have to slow it down again. It is all a bit much. We are also told that the umpire was not really the umpire, and we have to let the matters be considered further by the Assembly.

I want to ask members a rhetorical question. We have all heard about the role that the umpire, the Auditor-General, will be playing in respect of the Bruce Stadium matter when he brings down his report in September/October this year. What will members be saying, I wonder, if he comes down with a report that is damning of the Government and the Government comes back onto the floor of this place and starts to say, "Well, let us look at the basis on which he said that. What is the evidence on which he has put

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