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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3915 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

the danger of this grubby path that you are going down. It is grubby politics and, in the context of my responses yesterday, I was responding negatively to your grubby politics on this issue.

MR STEFANIAK: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I suggest, Chief Minister, that you read the transcript of yesterday and what you said about this person. How many more public servants are you going to bag out if they make statements that you do not like?

MR STANHOPE: My position in relation to this matter was the position I attempted to take yesterday but in relation to which the opposition continued to ask questions. I think that four of the questions asked by the opposition yesterday went to evidence given before the coroner. I think that this is really quite extreme and it is appropriate for me to refer to it as grubby politics. We have a coronial inquest in place, it has barely started, it has a year to run, and the opposition stand up in this place and say, "This bit of evidence was given in the Coroners Court. What do you say about it?"This is just nonsense of the first order. It is grubby. The position I am seeking to put, Mr Speaker, is that I do not wish to engage and I will not engage in this sort of witch-hunt.

Mrs Dunne: I take a point of order under standing order 118 (b). The Chief Minister is not answering the question; he is debating the subject.

MR SPEAKER: I think that the Chief Minister has concluded his answer. At the same time, may I say that it is open to the Chief Minister to answer questions how he wishes- subject, of course, to the standing orders. But I cannot say that the answers will always please everybody.

First home owners scheme

MR HARGREAVES: My question is directed to the Treasurer. Last week there were reports that children had been successful in obtaining grants under the first home owners scheme. It was reported that, in Victoria alone, there were 72 successful recipients under the age of 18. One case was reported in the ACT. Will the Treasurer inform the Assembly of the situation in the ACT? How was a person under the age of 18 found eligible for funding under that scheme?

MR QUINLAN: The member asks an important question. The first home owners grant is administered under the First Home Owner Grant Act, which was drafted in conformity with the principles set out in the intergovernmental agreement, or IGA, on the reform of Commonwealth-State relations, which was associated with the introduction of the GST under proposed arrangements agreed to by Commonwealth Treasury. Under those arrangements it was agreed that no minimum age limit for applicants would apply. Under the IGA, the Commonwealth must agree to any changes to eligibility criteria for the first home owners grant. At all times those grants have been administered within the terms and principles of the act and the intergovernmental agreement.

Since the commencement of the scheme, 9,371 grants have been paid. I hasten to add that that was the position at the time I was briefed. In addition to the initial eligibility checks that are carried out before the grants are paid, the ACT Revenue Office conducts extensive follow-up compliance investigations, using internal and external sources, to

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