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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (1 March) . . Page.. 475 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: First of all, let me answer the comment about self-congratulation. Mr Quinlan continually criticises this and says what a terrible thing it is for the government to be out there selling its achievements. There are two comments I would make about that. First of all, it is not my fault if Labor had very few achievements to be selling during its time in office and could not go out and make these sorts of statements because there was not good news to deliver at that stage.

My recollection is that Labor is very good at self-congratulation. We can produce a few examples of that. My "Face of Labor" file upstairs has a great deal of self-congratulation in it. I think the truth is to be found in an article written a few weeks ago by Catriona Jackson in the Canberra Times.

Mr Stanhope: Not by you?

MR SPEAKER: Be careful, Mr Stanhope.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, by Catriona Jackson. Mr Speaker, I do not know why I am bothering to answer questions if they are talking at me the whole time. If that article is to be relied upon, the view inside the ALP is that the government's approach is quite a sensible approach.

According to this article, despite your protestations, Mr Quinlan, the view around the ALP is that this is actually quite a good approach to take, particularly as far as the budget is concerned, to deliver good news to the ACT community.

It is true to say that, particularly in the early period since 1994-95, the ACT did not enjoy good economic conditions. In 1996, as members know, the then newly elected Commonwealth government announced its intention to considerably contract the federal public service, which particularly meant the ACT receiving the impact of that. As I recall the estimates of the time, something like 7,000 jobs were shed in the Commonwealth public service in the ACT alone. There is no doubt about the fact that, during the early phase of the ACT's grappling with those problems, we did have low growth, we did have poor economic performance and we did have rising unemployment. That is all very true. But the point is not what we had to deal with in 1995-96 but what we have been able to create since that time. What we have created since that time is record-

Mr Quinlan: Slower than average growth, since that time.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, no, no. That is the totality-

Mr Quinlan: Since.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Any more interjections and a few more people will get warned.

Mr Corbell: I think you are doing what you did yesterday, Gary.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, he continues to ignore you.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, do you want to be here for the rest of the afternoon?

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