Page 2205 - Week 06 - Friday, 27 June 2008

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I do want to make some comparisons, Madam Assistant Speaker. The opposition claim in their report to deal with what they consider to be major issues affecting our community. Let us look at a couple of the more interesting issues raised in the dissenting report. As I turn the pages, I am confronted with the clause on ministers’ behaviour during the estimates committee hearings. What I find confusing is that, of the 2½ pages devoted to this particular dissenting comment, over a page of the Hansard extract was an exchange between you, Madam Assistant Speaker, and departmental officials. As evidence, the opposition in this report have extracted from Hansard one page where not a minister was mentioned. It is difficult to support the claim that ministers did not act appropriately when there is no minister in the transcript of the conversation.

Speaking of ministers and the comments made by those opposite in relation to answering questions, I should say—the Assembly may not be aware of this—that some 2,000 oral questions were asked in the committee process and a further 2,000-odd questions were put on notice. The evidence provided in the dissenting report quotes three questions put to ministers where the opposition has said that they were not answered appropriately. That is three questions amongst 4,000 questions in total. In my view, the evidence provided in this dissenting report is very slim. I listened to Mr Smyth’s bleatings, but let us look at the evidence. Of course, in the budget I think there are some 1,064 pages of data and facts compared with 48 pages of falsehoods and little argument in the dissenting report.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Order, Mr Gentleman. Withdraw the word “falsehoods”.

MR GENTLEMAN: I withdraw the word “falsehoods,” Madam Assistant Speaker. I will say it again: 1,064 pages of data and facts compared with 48 pages that I do not believe are correct. If you look at that sort of comparison and the fact that, of the 4,000 questions answered by ministers, the opposition cited only three that they were not happy with, it reminds a little bit of PJK’s famous words: “All tip and no iceberg.” Look at the amount of expenditure in this budget that is not mentioned at all in the dissenting report. The dissenting report is a little argument from a little group—only a tip, if you like, soon to melt into an ocean of political oblivion, according to Mr Mulcahy’s comments on the opposition’s polling.

I do want to go back to some of the more important aspects of this line item. A sustainable future is something that all governments worldwide should aim to achieve. As a government, we should be actively working with the community, relevant stakeholders, business, industry and other state and territory governments to ensure that we provide a sustainable future for our children, our grandchildren and future generations after that.

Governments are required to provide the right leadership that ensures that measures are taken to reduce our carbon and ecological footprint while insulating the community from any unnecessary negative economic impact. How is that achieved? Madam Assistant Speaker, you will find the answer within the 2008-09 budget. You will find a range of effective measures and well thought out initiatives located within

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