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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1348 ..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

But that is hardly a first for the ACT Liberal Party. During recent sitting weeks the Opposition Leader has stood here in the Assembly and boasted how he was able to secure an urgent-I repeat the word "urgent"-meeting with the federal communications minister after just a 41/2-month wait. That is right-a 41/2-month wait for an urgent meeting for the aspiring Senator Humphries.

News reports over recent weeks are now beginning to show the human face of the Ansett tragedy. At least three Ansett employees have committed suicide since the collapse of the airline. Facing terrible and sudden financial difficulty and ensuing relationship break-ups and the collapse of Ansett, their livelihoods and their families was too much for some, I am sad to say.

The Liberal Party boast about their commitment to private enterprise and about their commitment to providing fertile grounds for jobs growth. They also talk about their fantastic economic record. It always amazes me that it is supposedly the Labor Party that economic mismanages and that we should only ever allow the Liberal Party to hold on to the economic purse strings. We can see them for exactly what they are in this recent Ansett tragedy-beholden to the big end of town and absolutely unfeeling for the average worker.

If the Liberals were genuinely committed to jobs and private enterprise, they would have been screaming for John Howard and John Anderson to do something, to do anything. Instead, they sat by meekly watching jobs die, and the Canberra tourism industry with them.

Today we saw the real commitment to Canberra tourism from the Liberals, when they used question time to place a question mark over our ability to stage rugby world cup games. Instead of promoting Canberra and pushing our tourism industry, they are prepared to undermine our city and tourism employees for their own silly games.

We have inherited a set of books in shambles. The opposition does not even know what they left in the kitty. But I can tell you that the Liberals made promises and did not have the nous to fund them. They were a government on the way out and they threw money everywhere in an attempt to pork barrel and hang on to power.

But of course money goes only so far. The Liberal government chose not to pay CTEC bills. Some of them were two years outstanding. The Stanhope Labor government has come in and gone about delivering on election commitments and tidying up the Liberals' mess. Clearing up Canberra's tourism mess has been just one task.

Quite frankly, the Liberals should be ashamed of themselves. They could have helped Canberra tourism. They could have helped keep Ansett in the air or they could have helped keep Kendell in the air rather than giving money to an airline that had never operated as a carrier in this town-that is, Hazelton Airlines. They chose to divert funds to two players-Kendell, which had a long history in this town, and Hazelton. Where are Hazelton now?

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