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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3146 ..

MR SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR HUMPHRIES: They ran down the cash at hand and they made sure that all the hollow logs they could find were raided. I table that graph, Mr Speaker.

Mr Berry: Now what about the abnormal items?

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question?

MR QUINLAN: Yes, we did not really get the answer to the question. Anyway, will the Treasurer concede that favourable budget results of more recent times have been brought about in part by the vagaries of accrual accounting, and in particular reductions in the anticipated superannuation liability? As he is prepared to discredit the ALP with abnormal increases back then, I guess he is still prepared, as Mrs Carnell is, to take credit for abnormal decreases. Or does this Treasurer intend to discontinue this practice of deliberate misinformation?

MR HUMPHRIES: There is a "when you stop beating your wife" type question there, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: There is an imputation there - "deliberate misinformation", which I - - -

Mr Berry: That's okay.

MR SPEAKER: You might think so, but I happen to be the Speaker and I do not. Would you mind rephrasing that, please?

MR QUINLAN: Yes, Mr Speaker. What I was trying to say is that Mrs Carnell has gone to the public and used a figure of $344m, a figure which is inflated by very substantial abnormal items, and in so doing is creating a totally incorrect picture of the point at which we started, and at which she started. I think that that is misinformation. Thank you.

MR SPEAKER: Misinformation, yes, but not misleading.

MR HUMPHRIES: Okay, Mr Speaker. I am not sure whether that was a withdrawal or not. Mr Speaker, does Mr Quinlan doubt that we did operate an operating loss at that time? If not, does he speculate as to how large it might have been? Was it $100m, $200m, $300m? Maybe it was more than that, Mr Speaker. It does seem a bit strange for Labor to be arguing strenuously and vigorously about the size of reductions in expenditure and other cuts that this Government has had to make, painful as they have been, to get that operating loss down in the last four or five years, to have made those cuts in the last four of five years, and to have increased revenue in a number of areas.

Mr Quinlan: Let us not overstate what you have done.

Mr Berry: How many cuts were made in health?

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