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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 4367 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

interests of the ACT community. Mr Quinlan seemed to resent that. He said that that was not the role of the Assembly and that his administration was already working very hard and could not deal with it.

But I think the point has to made that, in this Assembly, there is the capacity for the Assembly to request that the government do certain things, and tonight again a majority of members will request that the minister actually consider this question. In a democracy, it is a powerful statement that the majority of members think this could be an important idea; it is worth looking at. There is a bureaucracy supporting the government of the day, which is equipped to look at these issues in the public interest. It is not particularly reasonable to suggest that the crossbench, or the opposition for that matter, are going to have the resources available to them to do this work.

As Mrs Cross said, even if Mr Quinlan thinks that it is not a particularly good idea, there is no harm in him being a little bit more civil in his response to the idea. Also, even if he personally does not think it is a good idea-and I respect his understanding of the issues-why not be open enough to actually look at it as a possibility? As I said, it is not a novel idea. It is not something that the government has never done before. And it is worth looking at. So I will not be supporting the amendment to refer the matter to the Public Accounts Committee, and I will be supporting the motion.

MRS DUNNE (6.13): I rise in support of Ms Dundas's motion, and to congratulate Ms Dundas on the fact that she keeps the issue of housing affordability before our minds, not just today but on a regular basis. Housing affordability is a crucial question in this town. As the inquiry into poverty conducted by the previous government found, one of the biggest single indicators of poverty is housing, and one of the most efficient ways of addressing people's poverty is addressing their housing.

So, after employment, housing is the single biggest issue that affects people. Yet we have this motion pooh-poohed in this way, as is constantly the case with this government when we talk about housing affordability. We had it here already today in question time when Mr Quinlan did his Economics 101 put-down sort of thing about discussion on housing affordability. This is what happens all the time.

There are a multitude of issues that relate to housing affordability. Many of those have been raised by Ms Dundas today. There are others. They are the issues of stamp duty and the municipal costs that impact on housing affordability, which the Housing Industry Association has raised most effectively over the last six or eight months. And the minister for housing is not the least bit interested in housing affordability.

Ms Dundas needs to be complimented on this. Housing affordability is a very important issue and, as I have said, it is multi-faceted. The impact on rent of land tax is a very important issue which we must address. I have to say that the Treasurer again gets awarded the pompous git of the day award for his spectacular dummy spit over this one. Does he not understand that, when he talks about the bureaucracy, this is a public service?

Mr Pratt: Was it this dummy?

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