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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 157 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Again, going on past form, I do not expect the opposition and the Leader of the Opposition to have sufficient self-respect to not in fact still say silly things like it was over expenditure and mismanagement in six months that caused this deficit-the Leader of the Opposition, of course, got his figures crossed even yesterday.

If you want to talk about sophistry, let me tell you that back in about 1999 there was an actuarial review of the superannuation liability and it was found that the liability was overstated. The then Chief Minister and Treasurer, Kate Carnell, and her Under Treasurer, Mick Lilley, decided that that was something that ought to be amortised. You can imagine the discussion-"Gee, we have got $269 million or something on the bottom line. No-one is going to believe that. What are we going to do with that? How about we amortise it over 12 years or so and that will give us about a $30 million start each year. So we have got a $30 million flier because we have got this credit amortisation flowing for the next few years."That is probably closer, I have to say, to sophistry than me standing up and saying, "By the way, the investments are not earning."In fact, we have suffered some capital losses on these liquid assets, liquid assets that I warned some years ago that we should be measured about.

I ask those members of the House that are open-minded about this to take note of these impacts because, as I said, if past form is a guide, I anticipate that there will be direct blatant misinformation peddled about the causes of the situations that the Assembly finds itself in from time to time, unfortunate thought that may be.

I have previously bemoaned the fact that there is insufficient analysis of the numbers that are from time to time presented to this place and in the public forum. I would make a plea to the press in particular that they take a bit more note of exactly how things happen and that we do get a little bit more analysis. We all know the running joke about the misinformation that Mr Humphries peddled that the level of deficit that occurred in 1995-96 during the Carnell government was somehow Labor's, and the mindless parroting of it by Mr Smyth since.

Mrs Dunne: You don't like $344 million. You don't like to be reminded.

MR QUINLAN: I will say this and I have stated this before in this House-

MR SPEAKER: Order! Interjections are out of order and so is responding to them. Just stick to the point.

MR QUINLAN: I will say, Mr Speaker, that anybody who says in this place or anywhere else that Labor made a $344 million deficit in any year is a damned liar and should be reported in the media as such because it is a damned lie.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Treasurer, is the ACT alone in experiencing this downturn in relation to superannuation investments?

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