Page 3497 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 21 September 2005

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MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (4.56): As I read this motion, I was wondering what it was really about. Mr Mulcahy is now the shadow minister for economic development, with a wide-ranging motion on population, skills shortages, older people, skills migration, negative perceptions of Canberra, water supply, personal safety, federal-state relations, facilities in the national capital and business support. It sounded to me like one of those speeches of a future leader. Is this the Mulcahy manifesto?

For Mr Smyth’s benefit, as he returns to the house, I just want to make a point in clarification while we are taking our little shots at him over the leadership wrangle. I heard Mr Smyth ascribe the rumours to Mr Hargreaves. Mr Smyth, I have news for you: the rumours started at Mr Mulcahy’s fundraisers before the election.

Mr Mulcahy: Which one?

MR QUINLAN: The one where you were telling people what you were going to do after you were elected; that one. Maybe there was more than one, but at least one. If you have not heard it, Mr Smyth, some people who pretend to support you obviously do not, if you have not been similarly advised.

Mr Mulcahy referred to the discussions earlier about all the super-duper reforms that have taken place under the present government. As I listened to some of the discussions, I was waiting to hear it said that it was Malcolm Fraser or John Howard who had opened relations with China and I was waiting to hear it said that it was Peter Costello who had floated the Australian dollar or broken down tariff barriers. China is the major driver of the buoyant economy around the world at this particular stage and is certainly a major trading partner of Australia. I was expecting to hear history rewritten to that point, but I think we have stopped just a little short of that. Somehow, whatever has happened since some major reforms in this economy and in the world economy are all attributable to the Howard government and reforms and prosperity in the ACT are, of course, attributed to the underpinning of the previous government. It just depends on where you are at the time, doesn’t it?

In relation to some of the things that Mr Mulcahy said and the discussion that he referred to where the ACT government was referred to as not being pro-business, that is not what the surveys have shown. I say it with trepidation because business confidence sampling is so very volatile, but the surveys that I have seen over the past year or two would say the opposite; that if there is any indication, they are saying that the ACT is a good place in which to do business. So, if you are going to pin and base your argument on that foundation, the whole argument fails.

There has been a repetition by some of things that the ACT government has done in terms of its industrial relations law, particularly in terms of industrial manslaughter, which, I might say, is good legislation with a bad title. My department ran seminars for businesses on the industrial manslaughter law and they said, “Is that it? Is it just about removing the corporate veil? Is that what it is about?” Yes, that is what it is about. That is not what is being sold by those who are against it. But those people who attended

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