Page 2382 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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Mr Speaker, during the examination of the environment area of the Chief Minister’s Department I was particularly interested in the delay by the Chief Minister on water issues. We know that they have got the reports from Actew. At least the Treasurer has done his bit. The Treasurer seems to be the only part of the government that works. He also seems to be only part of the government that gets ignored by the rest of his colleagues, probably because he does the work. Actew and Treasury have done their work. They have handed the documents over to the government to look at. When are we going to have a decision on whether or not we need a new water source, a water storage facility? We are told December, so we are seeing more delay.

A footnote in the history of the Stanhope government will be that they ended up in a thesaurus as a synonym for delay—“Stanhope government: delay.” Those words will be absolutely interchangeable. The problems are delay and indecisiveness. The problem here is that they cannot and will not make a decision. They cannot do it quickly and so any decision will languish for another 12 months.

Apparently we were told on radio that it was the commonwealth’s fault that the Chief Minister cannot make a decision. Good excuse—blame someone else. I think a health document said to blame the former government or blame the federal government. Maybe that estimates document from a couple of years ago has been circulated again for people to get their excuses right.

Mr Deputy Speaker, there is not a lot in this budget that shows leadership. There is not a lot in this budget that shows the government has considered what it is it should be doing. There is not a lot in the Chief Minister’s portfolio that commends him and his vision to the people of Canberra. There is not a lot more to say.

MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (4.47): Seeing that Mr Smyth referred to leadership, let me declare where I stand. Mr Smyth, I like you right where you are, mate. You have my support as leader of the opposition, and may you stay in the job, may you hold the job, for many years to come.

I want to refer to a couple of things. I do not want to go overboard but what we have seen is pretty much a scatter-gun approach. Everybody picked up on the arboretum and then the dragway, and from what I heard, the rest of it did not amount to much. Mr Smyth accused Mr Stanhope of blaming the commonwealth for not picking a dam or not taking a dam to somewhere that has not even been investigated. Mr Smyth, I think the debate this morning was about water to Yass, and that is where the commonwealth has come in at the 11th hour. Mr Stanhope explained that and hopefully you can recognise the difference.

At about 8.55 on Friday morning I heard Mr Smyth talk for five minutes on the radio. Mr Smyth had rung in because a report did not mention the ACT government. It was the greatest exhibition of twisting that I have ever heard. We had Mr Smyth saying, “They are not there but they were in their last report about human resources and that taints everything, and people should know it.” It was the greatest load of burbling that I have heard for quite a while.

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