Page 2230 - Week 07 - Thursday, 23 June 2005

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Mr Pratt: Up yours, Ted.

MR SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR QUINLAN: Back to the schoolyard, plonk.

MR SPEAKER: Unparliamentary language does not assist us at all. Mr Pratt, interjections are disorderly, especially unparliamentary ones and I think you ought to withdraw what you just said.

Mr Pratt: I withdraw that, Mr Speaker.

MR QUINLAN: And I withdraw calling him a plonk, Mr Speaker, in case you missed it.

MR SPEAKER: No, I did not miss it, Mr Quinlan. But I think the conversation, which ended up being an exchange of unparliamentary language, is unhelpful.

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. So let me just try and convey what at least I am trying to say. What I am trying to communicate is that I believe this place deserves a little bit more consideration in the conclusions that are drawn and in the arguments that are made here. I would expect a little bit more sophistication than what we have seen in Mr Mulcahy’s arguments. I guess that Mr Mulcahy’s arguments in this place fit into two categories. There are, of course, the simplistic notions that are trotted out by business when they want a more favourable environment. No-one blames business for arguing for a more favourable environment. Why wouldn’t they? But it is up to our political leaders to at least examine the simplicity or the over simplicity of some of the arguments that are put forward.

The whole basis, the whole assumption, that a more favourable taxation environment in the ACT or anywhere else will immediately translate into a greater level of employment is, I suggest, drawing a long bow and does not at least take into account the remote possibility of greater profit taking by business as opposed to an expansion of what they do. At the end of the day businesses set out to maximise profit. Quite often, if you look at a cost volume profit analysis of a business, Mr Mulcahy, you will find that there is an optimum level of production or sales. It is not necessarily the maximum—it is a point where they will make their most profit. Therefore, they are not necessarily going to aim for the maximum amount of employment. What they are going to aim for, Mr Mulcahy, is maximum profit taking. That is what they do.

I recommend to you that you get past this slavish adherence to the utterances of Peter Costello and your slavish adherence to the thesis that lower taxation or a softer cop for business will automatically translate itself into more employment, because it ain’t necessarily so. Having said all that, I thank members for their support for this bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

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