Page 2358 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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conditions in the main; every single one of them that wants a job has a job; and every single one of them that wishes to retain a job will retain a job. You can beat it up, you can spin it any way you want, but every single person that came into the ACT public service from Totalcare that has wished to remain in the paid work force is still in the paid work force—and they can stay there for as long as they wish.

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, can you inform the house whether you found it necessary to intervene from overseas in the unseemly brawl in the government over the issue of Totalcare workers whilst your deputy attempted to hold the government together?

MR STANHOPE: I am not aware of this “unseemly brawl”. The only unseemly brawl that I am aware of is a major rift between the leader and deputy leader of the opposition—a brawl that we on this side believe to have been generated by the jockeying now going on between the deputy leader and the shadow Treasurer as to who will find the bottle to take on the leader.

We discussed this in caucus this morning: who will find the bottle to knock off a leader who has no hope at the next election, who has no credibility and no standing? We opened a book and thought it would be the shadow Treasurer. But just six months of observation reveals a lot of bluster, a lot of noise but not much in the way of a backbone, a spine or guts.

We see the deputy leader step up to the mark—he has been a bit quiet there. He is the longest serving Liberal in the team. He thinks that the job is really his. He has never really taken it on with gusto. He managed to cajole himself into the position of deputy leader. All of a sudden, we find an issue of major dispute between the deputy leader and the leader—Toast; it is a bit like that toast that you drop.

I conclude on this point: I was not aware of any unseemly debate within the Labor Party. I have such faith and trust in my colleagues that I did not spend much time seeking to peer over shoulders from overseas; I was incredibly busy doing good things for the ACT. But I was mightily amused with the developing positioning for who will lead the Liberal Party into the next election. There is not a single person in this Assembly that does not know that it will not be Mr Smyth.

Business development

MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Economic Development and Business, Mr Quinlan. Minister, through the economic white paper and the knowledge fund, the government committed to assisting new and innovative businesses during their developmental stage. Could you inform the Assembly of the latest developments in this area?

MR QUINLAN: I certainly can. I inform the Assembly that today was big cheque day. It was a pleasure to announce that a further $2 million has been invested into the Canberra business development fund. The $2 million consists of a $1 million investment from the government’s knowledge bank and a $1 million investment from the Hindmarsh Group, who are co-investors in the development fund. The development fund was jointly established by ACT governments past and Australian Capital Ventures Ltd.

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