Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 809 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
There are three parts to this bill. Firstly, it has provision for a significant election promise by the incoming government to the office of sustainability. The second part consists of machinery issues-for example, the first home owners scheme. The ACT is merely a post office between the federal government and people building their first homes. As I say, it is just a machinery exercise. The third is the provision of funds to take care of the financial disasters of the previous government. There were those three segments. The last part I referred to talks about the CTEC losses of previous years. One of the unfortunate parts about it is that we will not know the extent of the CTEC losses from last year until it is really too late in the year, because of the races during the long weekend in June. That is an unfortunate thing. It would be nice to know it a lot earlier than that.
We need to understand that the appropriation bill is in those three bites. It is unique, I think, to this government that there is an appropriation bill this early in its life. Had this appropriation bill not been produced early in its life, probably two of those three items would have not have been present. One is the office of sustainability, because it was an election promise, and the other was to cover the losses from previous regimes. We would merely have been doing things like the first home owners scheme.
I want to record my appreciation to both Ms Dundas and to the chairman, Mr Humphries, for the spirit in which we conducted the estimates committee. It was with good humour, I thought, and it was with absolutely no malice. That is one of the encouraging things about being in the ACT Legislative Assembly. We were doing business, and we were doing a good job. I want to record my appreciation to the other members for that. Patrick McCormack did a superlative job of trying to interpret what on earth we were on about. He did a great job. Thank you very much, Mr Humphries, and Mr Speaker.
MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (12.03): If I had taken the conventional approach as we have had here, I am fairly certain I would have been saying this report is woeful; it is lamentable; it is a waste of time, with the large number of people involved in the exercise; it is of no benefit; it serves no useful purpose; my view is that this report is nothing more than trash; it is disappointing, and it is a waste of the territory's money. Those are all quotes from Mr Humphries.
Mr Humphries: But you cannot say it, can you?
MR QUINLAN: No, I cannot say that-it is not in my nature. But I can say this to Mr Humphries: I might have mentioned before that I have a begrudging admiration for his capacity to twist an argument. I am fairly confident-in fact I am certain-that, if this appropriation bill had come at another time, that time would have been inappropriate-and now would have been the appropriate time. There would have been the questions: why not earlier? Why don't we have openness? Why weren't we told what was going on? I am sure that argument was just as much for your entertainment as was much of what Mr Hargreaves said. I rather suspect Mr Humphries may be regretting the fact that he did not have an estimates committee on bill (No 2).
Mr Humphries: I did at the time-yes.