Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 March 2008) . . Page.. 554 ..
subject to something on which Mr Stanhope thinks he can do better. If he wants to talk about housing affordability, as I said here earlier today, bring it on. Let us put Jon Stanhope’s record on housing affordability on the—(Time expired.)
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.08): In supporting Mr Seselja’s motion, I say firstly that I tend to think the Prime Minister might be overreacting in terms of what he is doing. Those of us in this house who are old enough to have lived through the Whitlam era will know that we came from having full employment during 23 years of coalition government to then seeing huge increases in wages, the cost of living and interest rates. Wages went up by 14 or 15 per cent and there were huge rises in inflation which took a while to get over, but that did occur. We can cast our minds back to the late eighties, when there were interest rates of 17 or 18 per cent, which really affected a hell of a lot of people, and high inflation. We now have an inflation rate of about four per cent, low interest rates, full employment, and an economy that survived the crash of the five Asian tigers in 1997.
I tend to think that some overreaction by the federal government has occurred here. You have to question, even after 102 days, the economic credibility of Rudd and his colleagues. As a country, I think we are in for a very hard time—and needlessly so. I think there is an element of panic and ignorance in what the federal government is doing. I make that point to start with.
Secondly, I am quite disappointed by what the Chief Minister has not done in relation to this matter. I would have expected him to be consistent. I would have expected him to come out, maybe not as rabidly as he did in criticising the Howard government, but at least strongly in terms of backing up the Canberra community. With respect to cuts, you do not just have two per cent cuts across the board. That is totally inefficient. There are some departments that can handle that quite easily and that could probably do more, while there are some who probably need a little extra money.
Mr Barr: Which ones?
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Barr, I have called you to order about three times. After me and Mr Hargreaves, you are the most Foghorn-ish Leghorn-ish MLA we have in the place. Will you quell your emotions and let us hear the debate.
MR STEFANIAK: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker; I can actually talk over him if need be. I would not have expected the Chief Minister to be quite as rabid as he was in relation to the Howard government, but at least he could have strongly criticised his own government and stood up for the people of Canberra, which is something that even Rosemary Follett might have done, as I recall, and Kate Carnell certainly did so with John Howard.
In expanding on what my colleague Mrs Dunne, who was a staffer at the time, talked about—and I entirely concur with what she said—it is amazing what you can do if you do stand up for the place, if you go in to bat and you keep harping at your federal colleagues that what they are doing is going over the top as far as you are concerned. If you think your constituents deserve a better deal, you can claw back the odd thing. And, yes, federal governments of any persuasion often tend to wipe over what