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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 162 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

The last principle of the four that Mr Quinlan lists, "apply all available revenue for the maximum benefit of the people of the Territory", is motherhood in its purest form, virtually. We might as well add that it should also be used for the generation of the maximum amount of goodness and light and purity in the community. I think general principles are fine, but principles of such generality are of no great value to the community.

I know the mega brain which is Mr Quinlan's accounting expertise finds it hard to deal with these irritatingly simple questions about his amendment, and no doubt he will dazzle us with the reasons why his view ought to be accepted over the ACT Treasury, and I wish him great luck in that. I propose to take the advice of my department, my experts, and to oppose the amendment, groans and all from Mr Quinlan, but I do urge the members of the Assembly to consider the amendments which I will propose which do amend what Mr Osborne has put forward, but on a more modest scale.

MR QUINLAN (5.22): Okay.

Mr Osborne: Just turn the other cheek.

MR QUINLAN: No, no, you cannot do this, because, look-

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Mr Osborne, Mr Quinlan has the call.

Mr Osborne: Sorry, Harry.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Come to order, Mr Osborne.

MR QUINLAN: This bill says "reduce total liabilities". Mr Humphries quoted from his brief to say Mr Quinlan did not consider both sides of the balance sheet. Total liabilities, Mr Humphries, are one side of the balance sheet. The net assets position is assets minus liabilities. Now, in any business, in any enterprise, you can be big and small, but your wealth really depends on your net position. Your better-off-ness is your net position. The bill as originally drafted by whoever did it for Mr Osborne just focuses on total liability.

Now, what that means is, do less and less and less. Do not invest in anything. Do not buy an asset on credit because, if you do, you increase your liability, even if that asset would provide the territory with a very positive net-excuse me for using the word again-advantage or a net income or a net benefit. In fact, what you have said, Mr Humphries, what you have regurgitated unfortunately, is self-contradictory.

Mr Humphries: Right.

MR QUINLAN: It is important to know this. Gee, this is dangerous stuff if we have people in this place saying, "We are going to make rules about how we are going to do stuff," and you do not understand the fundamentals. I did not change the-

Mr Humphries: Talk to my advisers on this. It's shocking, isn't it. I think you should sack some people when you become Treasurer.

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