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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (7 August) . . Page.. 2457 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

office in 1995, by Mr Quinlan in particular. As I recall, Mr Quinlan, shadow Treasurer, offered to resign if an independent analyst showed that Labor had left a debt, an operating loss, of $344 million. Can you advise whether you have offered Mr Quinlan the opportunity for the ACT government to commission another independent study to confirm the Auditor-General's findings that the operating loss for 1995-96 was $344 million? Has the ACT government also offered the shadow Treasurer, Mr Quinlan, a briefing to address his concerns about this issue?

Mr Kaine: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Is this question addressing government policy by any chance?

MR SPEAKER: I will allow it. Once again, there were far too many questions in the question.

MR HUMPHRIES: It is frightening, isn't it? Fancy the people out there getting a say in what is going on in the territory. It is terrifying.

It is interesting, following from the first question in question time today, to see the wisdom of the Auditor-General in respect of the Bruce Stadium now comprehensively questioned when it comes to the territory's operating loss. Members will be aware that the Auditor brought down a report which indicated that the operating loss experienced for the 1995-96 financial year was $344 million, an operating loss almost certainly inherited from the former Labor government.

The fact is that Labor were abysmal financial managers of this territory. They racked up the territory's bankcard. They left us with a loss of at least $344 million. Of course, given the extent to which the territory in the first budget of the Carnell government was winding back expenditure and increasing revenue in the territory, it is fair to assume that the operating loss from the previous year was much higher than $344 million. But it remains the case that it was at least $344 million in the year in question.

We inherited a huge operating loss from the Labor Party-$344 million. Understandably, Mr Quinlan is unhappy with the Auditor's findings, even though the Auditor apparently holds great authority on other matters.

I have tried to resolve this matter with Mr Quinlan by offering him some way of being able to settle the matter once and for all. I have said to Mr Quinlan that, first of all, he is free to examine the books to determine how it is we might be in the position-

Mr Quinlan: You are misusing the figure you have. You are misleading people. It is dishonest.

MR HUMPHRIES: I ask that that be withdrawn, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Withdraw that, please, Mr Quinlan.

Mr Quinlan: I seek your guidance, Mr Speaker.

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