Page 754 - Week 02 - Thursday, 12 February 2009
delivered? What are the economic implications of that? You either add money or you take money from somewhere else. It is a really simple equation. The federal government actually believes that $42 billion in the context of its budgetary position, at this stage, is the appropriate and necessary stimulus to maintain growth for the Australian economy. That is a decision and a judgement that it has made.
I do find it strange that the response by others, most particularly the Greens, the crossbench, in the federal parliament and we see it mirrored here today, is: “We don’t believe that the best response or result is in the delivery of the package as currently constructed. We’d rather see those capital works go into public transport in addition. In other words, we want another $10 billion or so.” It is either that or, “We believe public transport is more important than schools or housing.” They cannot have it both ways. They have to be out there pleading for a greater package with additional billions of dollars—from where and with an impact of what?
Mr Rattenbury: You’d rather people get money to put into poker machines?
MR STANHOPE: What? So this is a judgement to be made, is it? I must say, I do find it amazingly cynical and judgemental to suggest that tax relief or family payments should not be made because some people might actually use some of that money to gamble. I do not think we have got to the stage yet where we, as legislators, begin to make judgements about how people spend their money. I find it remarkable that the Liberal Party and the Greens in this place would actually extend, as a reason for objecting to those parts of the package that provide $950 support payments or payments to families—single-income families or to families with school children that are eligible within the package—that there is a risk that some of those people might use some of that money or some of that funding in a way that is not supported by the Liberal Party or by the Greens. It really is a remarkable justification or rationalisation of why the individual payments proposed in the stimulus package should not be supported because there is a judgement within the Liberal Party and the Greens in the ACT that you cannot trust people to spend the money wisely and that they might, heaven forbid, gamble some of it away.
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 12.31 to 2 pm.
Statement by minister
MR CORBELL (Molonglo--Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (2.00), by leave: Mr Speaker, during debate earlier today on the motion in relation to the establishment of an independent arbiter to deal with the claims of executive privilege and calls for documents, I made some comments in relation to the nature of that motion which were not consistent with the word and form of the motion. For any confusion that has been caused in that regard, I apologise to the Assembly.