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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2383 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

I guess what we see here today is the fairly standard set piece that happens once a year with a budget-the government brings it down, the opposition at least identifies what they think is wrong with it and then express whatever criticism they can find. That is the process we have been through.

I want to particularly thank Ms Tucker. I thought that at least her analysis was even-handed. It was even-handed to the extent that she certainly spoke through the principles for which her party stands. But otherwise, I thought that she gave the ticks and the crosses according to her principles. She gave what I thought was a fairly fair analysis. The rest of the members acted in a way that would have been quite easy to predict earlier today.

It has been very satisfying to bring down this budget and to find that there has not been a great storm of criticism. Certainly the Canberra Times has taken to conveyancing stamp duty with a vengeance, but we do know that the deputy editor, Mr Hull, has written about this before and he does have a belief that in fact duty should be lessened rather than increased. Coincidentally, the Canberra Times is very highly dependent for income on the real estate industry. So I guess that they do have some form of association, and Mr Hull has his own beliefs.

But other than that, it has been generally well received, and I have to say I do derive some satisfaction from that. As I said, the various speeches from the opposition and the Democrat were as I would have expected, based on what you hear in this place and what positions people have effectively adopted in relation to government.

I was not in the chamber when Mrs Dunne was speaking, but I did enjoy her Hanrahan-style delivery embellished with Shakespeare. I thought the gravity of voice lent something to the debate.

Mrs Dunne: Just watch the lean and hungry look, too.

MR QUINLAN: Yes, the lean and hungry look. I should give you a lesson in Labor politics where we do know about numbers. If you knew anything about numbers at all you would know that what you talked about is totally impossible. It would not matter and I am sorry to disavow you of that. I know that occasionally we all like to say to the other mob, "Watch your back." We have, in the main, resisted telling Mr Humphries to watch his back but from what we hear he really should.

Mr Stanhope: Well, he won't be here, will he?

MR QUINLAN: He won't get the Senate. I would like to record the comments of Professor John Quiggan, who at the budget breakfast yesterday made the observation that he saw for about the first time that there were alternatives available to the voters of the ACT. There are the conservatives and there are the social progressives. This independent observer recognised that this was a socially progressive budget. The budget was described, supposedly as an insult, by Mr Humphries as a Labor budget. It was described by Professor Quiggan as a Labor budget, not as a compliment but as a clear assessment of what it is. And it is a Labor budget.

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