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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 March 2008) . . Page.. 536 ..

Federal funding cuts

Debate resumed.

Mrs Dunne: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I would like to seek your ruling on whether or not the Chief Minister’s amendment is in order because it substantially varies from the substance of Mr Seselja’s initial motion. There is substantial discussion in the Chief Minister’s amendment about housing affordability, the banks, the Reserve Bank, inflation. None of those matters were part of the original motion.

MR SPEAKER: Overall, Mrs Dunne, I think it is relevant if you just take a look at paragraph 1 (a) of Mr Seselja’s motion, if I can comment about it on the wing. It talks about the Rudd Labor government’s intentions to slash funding. The opening paragraph of Mr Stanhope’s amendment goes to the issue of the threats presented to the national and regional economies, including the ACT. I think it is relevant.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.08): This is a very important motion that the Leader of the Opposition has put forward because it goes to the heart of what we do as members of this Assembly and what some of us do not do. What some, particularly those in the Labor Party, will not do is stand up to their federal Labor colleagues and say that these cuts are unnecessary, they are unwarranted and they will have a detrimental effect on the ACT—on the people they purport to represent, the working families in Canberra, on the ACT economy and indeed on how people view Canberra around this country.

It is interesting that the Chief Minister has scurried away from the chamber again, as he so often does. He is very good at dishing it out, but he cannot sit there and refute what we will now say. We will now point out the fallacies in his case and the fundamental lack of understanding by this Chief Minister and Treasurer of what the Reserve Bank does.

It is interesting that he starts with legacies. He says that there is the legacy of inflation that has been left by the previous Liberal government. I will get to that in a minute, but let us remember the legacy: record low unemployment, no debt, enormous surpluses, virtually unheard of in the history of this country, and a high investment—probably higher than any other government since the last major Liberal government that invested in Canberra, the Menzies government—in the infrastructure in Canberra. The legacy that he wants to refer to does not contain the upgrade of the Federal Highway, the Barton Highway; upgrades of the runway at the airport; three upgrades of the War Memorial, including a new wing; the National Library annex down at Hume; the building of the National Museum of Australia; the building of, and currently it is still underway, the National Portrait Gallery; the upgrade to the Mint; the expansion and upgrade of the National Gallery; the National Capital Exhibition on Regatta Point upgrade; the Old Parliament House upgrade; the construction of Reconciliation Place; the construction of Commonwealth Place; and the construction of Magna Carta Place, which he did not mention.

Yes, John Howard did not live here—that is true—and the people that stood up to him the most were the former Liberal government and the former Liberal Chief Minister,

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