Page 35 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2006

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of purpose that one would expect of a leader of an opposition. It is one of the most undignified scenes that we have witnessed in recent times—

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

MR STANHOPE: Mrs Dunne has been spraying bullets willy-nilly, most regularly through her own feet.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister. Order!

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, under standing order 118 (b) the minister cannot argue the subject. He was specifically asked about his words, which is why the question was directed at him. He should answer for his words.

MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister, come to the subject matter of the question.

MR STANHOPE: I will. It is relevant, in relation to the question from the shadow Treasurer about issues around past performance or understanding of matters going to the budget, that we do acknowledge the strength, purpose and character of a person so intent on destabilising his leader. He does it from behind the skirts of one of his colleagues. He allows her to take the fall—to be removed of all her positions within the Assembly—while she sprays bullets from a gun loaded by him.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Stanhope, come to the subject matter of the question.

MR STANHOPE: The point that I was coming to in relation to that was, of course, the outcomes of meetings and undertakings made by treasurers at treasury meetings. Of course, the disability I have in relation to that is that I am not the Treasurer, and I do not attend those meetings. I have not had those face-to-face discussions with Mr Costello that are at the heart of the shadow Treasurer’s questions.

It is interesting, in relation to a question going to discussions, negotiations and agreements struck by the federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, with the Treasurer of the ACT, Mr Quinlan, and others, with Mr Quinlan sitting here, ready and armed to answer in detail the nature of the undertakings and agreements struck, that Mr Mulcahy chooses not to ask the person who was present at the discussions, who struck the deal, who made the undertakings. Is that not interesting? We need to ponder that. Why is it, around an issue in relation to which the person who negotiated the ACT’s position on the part of the ACT government is sitting here at my right hand. He is sitting here, he had the conversation, he did the negotiations, he struck the deal. He is sitting here as Treasurer of the ACT, and the shadow Treasurer does not wish to ask the Treasurer of the ACT any questions about the budget or budget management, or issues going to the GST or taxation, or arrangements entered into between the ACT and states and territories. Why is it that Mr Mulcahy does not wish to engage the Treasurer in relation to a discussion around financial and economic issues? Why is that, I wonder. Because he knows he is out of his depth. He knows he is inadequate. He knows he is out of his depth.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Resume your seat, please, Chief Minister.

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