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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2342 ..


MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer. The Treasurer would be aware of the Leader of the Opposition's statements that the 2002-03 budget lacks vision and imagination. Can the Treasurer inform the Assembly why he framed the budget in the way he did, what vision he had in deciding the budget items and what happened the last time an ACT government used imagination?

MR QUINLAN: I have to confess to having been deeply wounded by the comments that have been made by the shadow Treasurer. I do have feelings. Having heard those comments, I pondered what was meant by imagination and what a Liberal Leader of the Opposition would mean by imagination. Was imagination to be found in blowing up the hospital as a public event, with disastrous consequences? Was it imagination to paint grass green? That took imagination. Was imagination being able to absorb the Bruce stadium business plan?

Mrs Dunne: Was it imagination to do away with the $344 million operating loss?

MR QUINLAN: Does it take imagination to believe that Labor could bring down that deficit when you were in government? That is exactly the sort of imagination you have, Mrs Dunne.

I thought, "I will be fair to the man. I will have a look at the last two budgets he brought down. Out of those will come bolts of imagination, I am sure." I have looked through those. I can go close not so much to a bolt but maybe to a scintilla of imagination with the reduction in the Floriade fee on the way to taking it off. It took a bit of imagination to put it on in the first place, I suppose.

I found a further scintilla of imagination when I saw an emergency services levy being taken off. That took a bit of imagination, but it also took a whole lot of public pressure. I saw imagination in the corrupted use of the term "social capital". That was a leap of imagination. That one took a fair bit of imagination and did a disservice to the author of the genuine dissertation on social capital.

I have to conclude that possibly what the Leader of the Opposition was referring to was the imagination you needed to read his budgets. You do not have to use your imagination with this one, because everything is in it. It is written down. However, if you go back over previous budgets, you do need imagination, because the gunnas were not there. To find the stuff they were gunna do, the things we have listed in the last few days in this place, needed imagination. I figure that is what Mr Humphries means by lacking imagination. In that case, I am quite proud of this document.

Budget-police numbers

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the minister for police, Mr Quinlan. Minister, I note that the government is committed to a policy of progressively increasing police numbers. The first funding for that was in this week's budget, providing seven of the promised 20 police. I also note that four of those seven police have been allocated to the police DNA unit, leaving only three for the beat.

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