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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3049 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

thought than is behind this particular MPI and the speech that the very shallow Mr Smyth gave today and the very shallow Mr Smyth gives on a regular basis in his one liners in the media that border on misleading the public. It is a regular occurrence.

I return to the claim this week that the Liberal government warned us in relation to bushfires when that plainly was not the case. To try to build a whole resolution on it and a censure motion on it really does beggar belief and, I think, brings discredit on this place.

Mrs Dunne: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek clarification. We are debating a matter of public importance, not a censure motion, aren't we?

MR SPEAKER: We are debating a matter of public importance and it is open for the minister to discuss aspects that relate to it.

Mrs Dunne: But we are not censuring him yet.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order, Mrs Dunne.

MR QUINLAN: I respond to the point of order by saying that the point I am making is that this is a very shallow MPI delivered to us by a very shallow Leader of the Opposition who is consistent in his shallowness and consistent in making bald statements that do not necessarily have a basis in fact.

If the Liberals took power at the next election and the boom was coming off, where would we go? What taxes would be decreased or what services would be decreased? Effectively, Mr Smyth has said in this place today, "Set your budgets on the basis of the amount of revenue you are receiving today."That makes you, Mr Smyth, very dangerous. You have this very simple view. As I said, you are either artful or plainly stupid.

There may be some public attraction to make the simple statement, as John Howard did and I suppose you follow the leader, and point at the states by talking about stamp duty. That was to redirect pressure. It was John Howard who interfered with the housing market when he thought there was going to be a downturn, which did not actually occur, and brought in the first home owners grant, producing a whole pull forward and heating the market.

Mr Speaker, I have to say that if this MPI is the best that the opposition can put forward, it is not a very flattering commentary on this Assembly as a whole. I repeat that the order of difference between the original budget and the final result for the last financial year is not atypical of what has happened in this place over several years. The projected results through the course of the Carnell government and the final results varied markedly. Probably to the credit of assemblies past and, particularly, oppositions past, there was a little bit more maturity of thought when those matters were debated and we accepted that, in the turning over of something like $5 billion of revenue in and expenditure out, a few fractional changes can make a difference in a very tight bottom line.

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