Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 August 2008) . . Page.. 3258 ..
those who need utilities for their work-related activates are going to wear a slug from this measure. We hear the cliche about working families. I regularly ask my staff whether they can tell me what a working family is. I met James Packer a few months ago—he works, he has got a family, and he is worth $7 billion. I do not know whether that is a working family. Apparently there is a group of people who are working families, but I do not quite understand who they are. Is it all of us who work, or is it only those who are in the right political camp?
The fact of the matter is that those in the trades are going to cop it in this particular area. Families who must have larger vehicles will wear the impact of this, and I am not sure that that is good tax policy. We have heard all the media about the incentive for purchasing lower emission vehicles. When I heard it in the media on whatever day it was issued, I was saying to my family: “Well, that seems sensible. That’s something I’ll vote for.” But when I got into it and started looking at the fact that this is another tax increase, another hit for the back pocket for many people, I suddenly cooled on the whole idea.
I am pleased the opposition has gone back to opposing this particular tax increase. I thought it had totally converted to the cause of high taxation, but it sounds like, for whatever reasons, it sees the deficiencies in this bill and it is not going to support it, from what I believe I heard Mr Smyth say. I will be taking a position of opposition to the bill, too, for the very reason that, whilst I am delighted at the concession for the purchase of these lower emission vehicles, I simply cannot bring myself to support measures that are going to see some massive increases in taxes for many people in Canberra who, for various circumstances in their life and their work, are compelled to buy certain types of vehicles and will not have the option of picking up a Hyundai or something else and trying to use it as a trades vehicle. I think the bill is insensitive to those people and it is going to hurt them further.
I will be interested to learn of the stance of the Greens on this bill, as it raises some points which I think may be a conflict for them. The bill does involve quite a large derogation of power from the legislature to the executive arm of government, which may give some Greens an uneasy feeling, given their previous advocacy for government accountability. However, I suspect that, so long as the policy under review involves the environment, there is probably no argument that will stand in the way of Greens support for this bill. Accountability to parliament will go out the door. To make it very clear, Mr Assistant Speaker, I will not be voting in support of this bill.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.19): Mr Mulcahy’s moment has come—the Greens are standing up and, yes, we will support this bill, but not without a great deal of concern. Indeed, we share many of the concerns that have been expressed by the Liberals and by Mr Mulcahy. Nonetheless, I am glad that the government is offering us this amendment today. When I put up a similar proposal in 2006—actually a much better proposal—the government offered very flimsy grounds for not supporting it. That would be because the Stanhope government does not like to agree to another’s sensible proposals; it likes to take those ideas and present them as their own, long after the need is identified but when it can claim full credit. At least the Liberals are consistent—they opposed it in 2006 and they are opposing it in 2008. Mr Mulcahy, once a Liberal, now an independent, is also consistent on that one.