Page 4737 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 13 December 2005

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of the basics that go on.

Mrs Burke: We know when the budget is in deficit. We are not silly.

MR QUINLAN: Of all people! Thanks for your help, Jacqui. Maybe we could stick an MPI on and you could all get up and tell us how much you know. We could fit you all in, too. I have said before in this place that, at any given time, we have a huge raft of investments out there on volatile markets. I can give you one figure, if you like. As of the last time I spoke to Treasury officials about numbers, which was fairly recently, our investments were travelling $80 million better than expected. But it is not going to take huge shifts in capital markets here and overseas to change that. It is a matter of asking what the anticipated figure is now, waiting 30 seconds and asking, “What is it now?” It could be different.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR QUINLAN: It does not seem to me to be smart, particularly as—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR QUINLAN: We have had here today from your leadership an irresponsible misuse of numbers, as Mr Corbell has quite clearly explained. And you are saying, “Can you give me a number now that I can go out and misuse again and again.” When we present figures to the public through this place, we would like to ensure that we have done an overall assessment, made long-term estimates of what will happen and are able to say, “This is the expectation.”

Mr Mulcahy: You have not revised? Watch the forecast.

MR QUINLAN: From day to day, and every second week in this place, Mr Mulcahy, what you are suggesting is a stupid process.

Mr Mulcahy: Do you do revisions to your forecast?

MR SPEAKER: You will get to ask that question tomorrow, Mr Mulcahy.

Emission standards

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Given that several eminent scientists have publicly stated that the greenhouse emission reduction targets specified in the 1997 greenhouse strategy are realistic and could be achieved quickly and relatively cheaply and given that, in the words of Professor Graham Pearman, an international authority on climate change, “they are exactly the sort of measure that are needed. In fact, most governments are looking at setting far tougher greenhouse emission targets,” would you tell the Assembly which eminent scientists you consulted before you decided to lower higher rates of emission in your new climate change and energy policy?

MR STANHOPE: I remember, before the last election, when this became a matter of some note and we had this particular debate, the Liberal Party went very, very quiet on this subject. Why did they go very quiet on this subject when all this debate that was had

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