Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1899 ..
Mr Smyth: No, I did not ask that.
MR QUINLAN: I am saying that it is probably in the ballpark of what Mr Stanhope has said.
Ratepayers Association of the ACT
MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer, Mr Quinlan. Treasurer, the government receives fairly regular criticism from the president of the Ratepayers Association of the ACT, Peter Jansen. Is the Treasurer concerned at the criticism from an organisation representing ratepayers?
MR QUINLAN: That is a very good question, Ms MacDonald. This is a matter that I did try to address, quietly while in opposition, with the so-called Ratepayers Association of the ACT. In fact, I did ask for an annual report or even an application to join. There are a few ratepayers in this chamber. I wonder how many are members of the Ratepayers Association. I'll take a bet-none.
In fact, Mr Speaker, according to the annual statement of particulars by association, the sum total number of members of the Ratepayers Association of the ACT is five. The number of committee members is three. Somehow, there is a rule that you can't be a member unless you're on the committee. I don't know how, with five members, there are only three on the committee. You can't be a member unless you're on the committee!
Mr Speaker, I would be concerned at criticism from an organisation that represented ratepayers but, clearly, at five, it is probably stretching the envelope a bit. It ain't just been once or twice. I had a flip back through Hansard during my lunch hour. At least since 1996 there have been claims and pronouncements by the president of the Ratepayers Association of the ACT.
Quite clearly, Mr Speaker, this is a sham. If one goes to the media-and the president seems to enjoy popular support amongst his many members, because he is constantly in the same position-the president has been making pronouncements and putting out press releases under the name of the Ratepayers Association of the ACT. I am sure that is legal; it's a registered association; he's the president; there are two other people. There are two unnamed-they might be Spot and Fluffy. Nevertheless, the register is kept at the president's private address.
Perhaps one day an alert member of the media might pick up this story, seeing that they have been quite clearly duped on many occasions, regurgitating the statements of the president of the Ratepayers Association.
In answer, Ms MacDonald, to your excellent question, I have to say yes, I would be concerned at criticism from an organisation that represents ratepayers. This one doesn't.
MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms MacDonald.
MS MacDONALD: Treasurer, the same person identifies himself as the president of the Property Owners Association of the ACT.