Page 268 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 10 December 2008

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Each private members day, we would like to be able to discuss all the motions on the agenda. I think that is a fair thing. The people of Canberra have many issues and they take it up with their local member. That is what we are here to do, to raise these issues. So it was disappointing, when we sought to suspend standing orders today, that it was not accepted.

Going to the economy and going to what the Treasurer has been doing over the last few weeks or not doing over the last few weeks, not recalling this place, it would have been great if we could have met a few weeks ago to talk about these pressing issues, to talk about these pertinent issues. But the fact is that Minister Katy Gallagher was on holidays too. She was having a great old time and not worrying about the economic crisis that we are in. But that is not surprising.

For the last seven or eight years, the government have not recognised the economic crisis we are in. They talk about the share price and the share portfolios. Share portfolios have plummeted. Yet for the last six or seven years, they have gone up and up and up and up, but where have been the surpluses to match that, to prepare us for this rainy day? No, they are nowhere to be seen.

In fact, in 2001, when the government was elected, the all ordinaries share index was about 3,000. Earlier this year or late last year it peaked at nearly 7,000. Now it has suffered considerably. But where was the growth in the surplus to match the all ordinaries growth? If they are going to talk about declining share portfolios now and the impact that has on our fiscal policy, surely they can talk about the impact of the share portfolios in the times of good share-index growth.

Now to the budget cycle: the budget cycle has been another matter that Minister Gallagher has struggled to comprehend. It was either not very well defined or then it was an electoral cycle; so it was four years. I wonder whether, before 2004, it was three years. I wonder whether in England it is five years. I wonder in states where there is the facility to call elections at the whim of the government it is at the whim of the government or is it four years.

Ms Gallagher: What do you say it is, Mr Coe?

MR COE: I would say that the budget cycle goes down into the bottom of the trough, the trough of a depression, to the top at times when there is plenty. But then again I would not expect this government to know much about economics. That is certainly the impression in the community and that is certainly the impression that I had, which was one of the motivating factors as to why I came into this place.

It is a closed shop. As a newcomer to this place, it is exactly what I expect it to be. It is exactly what the people of Canberra expect it to be. It is a group of people that cannot even give a copy of a ministerial statement two hours beforehand to the other members as a courtesy. They cannot even do that. They talk about a mere two hours. Now we are getting it a mere two hours after what it was going to be. And they think that is an outrage. They are giving it to us at 6 o’clock instead of giving it to us at 4 o’clock. I find that very similar to the same case, the same argument, for giving it to us at midday instead of giving it to us at 2 or 3 o’clock.

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