Page 1135 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 8 April 2008

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shadow minister in relation to this issue. It has to be said that the opposition really is continuing to do what it has developed into an art form—scaremongering, talking down local business and talking down the Canberra economy. It does it well, and it does it continually and repeatedly.

The opposition talks down the town, talks down business and impacts on business confidence. It does everything it can to actually create a perception within the nation that this is not the place to do business, that there is very little business confidence and that the economy has stalled. We hear it all the time from Mr Smyth. He talks the economy down. He claims that it is busted, it is going backwards, that it is slow and that it has hit the wall. It is the cheap political language of a shadow minister who really has no particular commitment to the town—actually, no particular interest.

We can tell this, of course, through the paucity of their policies, and that point was just made. In a 15-minute presentation or contribution, the opposition still, after three and a half years in opposition in this particular term, has not detailed a single policy that would address the very issues that the shadow minister stands and condemns—not a single policy, not a skerrick of a policy, not an idea, let alone a policy about a way forward or what a Liberal government would look like in the ACT today. It is a pity that we see again through this matter of public importance the Liberal Party once again taking the cheap and easy option or opportunity of talking down the Canberra economy.

If we put that to one side, it is interesting that the opposition raises this issue. It does beg the question—this was essentially my opening comment—why does the Rudd Labor government need to implement the budgetary reform that it is implementing? We know that those budgetary reforms are necessary to reduce the ongoing inflationary pressures which continue to impact directly on businesses and households alike as a result of the Howard-Costello Liberal legacy of economic mismanagement.

It was only last week—and this was raised by Mr Stefaniak, I think, in question time today, without any shame—that the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Mr Glenn Stevens, in his opening statement to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, said that over the course of 2007 public final spending rose at about twice—double—its trend pace. This constitutes enormous inflationary pressures on an economy that is operating at its capacity. That is the Governor of the Reserve Bank commenting on the Liberal Party’s management of the economy during 2007.

Public final spending rose at about twice its trend pace. Supply constraints were apparent with low unemployment, yet the commonwealth continued to spend, especially during 2007, at twice its trend rate. With strong demand and inflation continuing to rise, the Reserve Bank was faced with one option, which was, and continues to be, tightening monetary policy through the increases in interest rates. Whilst last month saw no rise, the pressures continue to be present.

It is also important to acknowledge that the budgetary impacts that the shadow minister refers to will be felt across Australia. The Rudd Labor government is not singling out the ACT for punishment. The financial burden of the Howard-Costello Liberal legacy of financial incompetence will be a burden felt across Australia. The

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