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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2323 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

that what we were doing was the appropriate thing. Since then Mr Corbell has done nothing but try to drive wedges between himself and his leader. If he is not in favour of the tennis centre going ahead, he ought to say so instead of continuing with his incessant questioning.

The government set out to do two things. It wanted to break a stalemate. It wanted to ensure that creditors got paid. My understanding from Mr Dawes is that that process is in train and that that is happening. The second thing we wanted to do was to achieve another facility for the people of Canberra. That was supported by the Leader of the Opposition, but since then we have had constant sniping from the other half of the party. It is the Left versus the non-aligned, the Left versus the Right or whatever it is. That is how they operate. Either the Labor Party is in favour of this or they are not. It is about time they came clean on the whole issue.

The advice to the government was very clear. We have acted on that advice. We have broken the bottleneck. The creditors have now been looked after. I met with more of the creditors on the weekend, and they assured me that they believe this is the only way they can get any payment and, at the same time, Canberra can get a great facility. It is a shame that for the entire length of Mr Stanhope's leadership of the opposition he has not on any occasion, bar this one, come out in favour of a government initiative and that the first time he does he is bagged by Mr Corbell.

MR CORBELL: I ask a supplementary question. Does the minister not agree that every government or ministerial decision, particularly one involving a development approval worth over $100 million, should be supported by formal written advice?

MR SMYTH: Oh, the tricky questions with the words in their places. The government attempted to do two things. It is quite clear what we attempted to do. We wanted payment for creditors and we wanted a worthwhile proposal to go ahead for the benefit of the people of Canberra. It is interesting that the unaligned part of the Labor Party, the Leader of the Opposition, is in favour of that. It is a shame that the Left of the party has been against everything this government has achieved in the last six years.

We set out to make up for Labor's mistakes. We started with a deficit of $344 million left by a government that Mr Stanhope's colleague Mr Berry was part of. But we do not get any acknowledgment of that. We now have Mr Quinlan's new rules, as of yesterday's debate, that only things that have happened in the last three years count.


MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Treasurer, Mr Humphries. Minister, a couple of years ago the then Treasurer, Mrs Carnell, imposed a 3c a litre levy on leaded or super petrol. I understand that was an environmental measure designed to encourage people to use unleaded petrol. Now that leaded or super petrol has been phased out, why do the new lead replacement brands of petrol, such as premium unleaded, still attract the 3c a litre levy?

MR HUMPHRIES: I do not recall the details of that earlier decision but, whatever they were, I think they would have preceded the decision in Ha and Lim in the High Court, where the power of the states and territories to levy excises of any kind, including

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