Page 4208 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2005

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We, as legislators, should oppose it. If you look at statistics and surveys, there is often a reasonable amount of support in the community for the death penalty. But I do not think the arguments stack up. Especially in light of the arguments we are having at the moment in relation to terrorism, where there will, no doubt, be increasing calls for the reintroduction of the death penalty, it is important that we, as legislators, make the case against it; make it in a rational and a reasoned way; not make it in a dismissive way against those who support it; but put the case and hold firm for what should be a universal principle which, in the end, is that we, as a society, should not mandate nor condone the taking of human life. If we stick to that principle and are consistent in that principle, we will have gone a long way to doing our job as legislators and as representatives of the people of the ACT.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.23 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Budget—operating result

MR SMYTH: My question is directed to the Treasurer. Treasurer, you receive regular updates on the state of the ACT budget and forecasts for the following year. Is it the case that you have recently received advice from Treasury regarding the operating result for the territory and that the forecast general government sector operating results for 2005-06 and 2006-07 are at risk? What factors have influenced—or potentially will influence—the budgeted financial results for the territory?

MR QUINLAN: The volatile areas are fairly obvious to us all. There is volatility in the housing market, in the level of return in the housing market and in the level of stamp duty. There is some volatility in the level of payroll tax. There is certainly volatility in the investment markets. From time to time numbers bounce around the place.

I talk to Treasury formally once a week—more often than not, more often than that. On Monday the investment side of it was going really well. But again, you cannot predict that until 30 June. It is at midnight on 30 June in any financial year that we measure the capital value of the investments held. Like any other year, there are some ups and downs in the budget.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Treasurer, what action are you taking to improve the capacity of your government to fund new initiatives and to fund your outstanding election commitments?

MR QUINLAN: Only yesterday I was in here when a question was asked about the functional analysis that the Chief Minister has announced. Like any government—this is pretty standard—this government does not wish to impose any greater impost upon the taxpayers of the ACT. I said “wish”; so don’t come into this place in three months time and say, “Mr Quinlan, you said you would never …”, because you have put words into my mouth before Mr Smyth.

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