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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 March 2008) . . Page.. 545 ..

chance to purchase a house. Howard brought additional funding because of their macro policies. The government brought additional prosperity because of their macro policies which increased Australia’s prosperity to put into ACT roads and into ACT schooling.

The Stanhope government did not bring down interest rates. The federal Liberals did. The Stanhope government did not cut Keating’s $96 billion dollar deficit, which allowed the introduction of a GST, which the ACT community has enjoyed major benefits from. The Howard government did that. The Stanhope government did not increase the commonwealth funding flows to ACT schools; this government, the ACT government, could only increase funding to schools by destroying 23 schools and damaging their communities, after lying that they would not even close schools. The Stanhope government did not continue to build on that Howard-delivered prosperity for the ACT community.

MR SPEAKER: Withdraw that, the “lying”.

MR PRATT: I withdraw that, Mr Speaker.

The Stanhope government did not build on the Howard-delivered prosperity to the ACT community in the last two years about which Mr Stanhope is particularly critical. Howard did. Unemployment came down; tax cuts were delivered to Canberra families. In the close of his government, $10 million was pledged to Tharwa Drive and other works, after years of Stanhope neglect on those issues alone.

We have seen, of course, further GSTs to the ACT. All of these are resources made available to this government to support ACT families as a consequence of good federal funding policy. Commonwealth assistance, commonwealth funding, provided this government with the wherewithal to do a lot more to assist ACT families. Mr Stanhope, who opened this debate on the impacts on ACT families, failed to be balanced in that.

Whilst Howard was bringing prosperity to ACT families, what was Mr Stanhope’s impact? Firstly, despite the billion dollar boom, we had more rates and increased charges and imposts—a fire levy and an increase in paid parking. We have seen the rundown of ACT roads infrastructure, families increasingly caught up in traffic jams, while the Chief Minister fiddles. Witness the incompetence which is the Gungahlin Drive extension. Bus services were threatened to be cut. Bus services were certainly cut in late 2006 as a consequence of the irresponsible rationalisation program. And there were school closures, library closures, ACT shopfront closures. This Chief Minister has exercised hypocrisy in attacking the federal government. (Time expired.)

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (4.38): It looks as though hypocrisy is alive and well on both sides of this house today. I am going to speak both to the original motion and to the amendment. It does seem to me, Mr Speaker, that, despite your ruling, it makes a mockery of debate in this Assembly of the legitimate putting forward of a motion if an amendment can be put forward which basically changes the whole spirit of that motion in order to allow, in this case, the government to debate those issues that it wants.

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