Page 1946 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 6 May 2009

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in many of our tertiary institutions that are developing some remarkable products that just need a company to come along and commercialise.

These are our points. This is why I circulated the amendment today. As I said, we do have lots of time tomorrow when we can provide a detailed response to the budget. We look forward to putting forward our response tomorrow.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.53): I am speaking to the amendment, Mr Speaker, and not closing the debate. It is interesting that, in moving her amendment, Ms Hunter claims that my motion does not inform the people of Canberra. If that is the test for all motions on private members’ day, it will be an interesting hurdle. Indeed, there are a couple of Greens’ motions to be debated later today, and I wonder if there is information for the people of Canberra in them. Our job here is to hold the government to account. Ms Hunter seems to be the politician who does not want to be a politician. We are politicians; that is our job, and part of our job is holding the government to account and getting it to accept responsibility for its failures.

It is interesting that the three points that are left in the amendment are simply what Mr Quinlan would refer to as statements of the bleeding obvious. It is obvious the ACT budget will be in deficit well into the next decade, and the Treasurer has said that. It is obvious that the Stanhope-Gallagher government did not publish the strategic and functional review—that is a statement of fact. It is obvious that the economic white paper has been superseded by the capital development paper—that is a fact.

I am not sure what the purpose of the amendment is. But it is interesting that Ms Hunter spoke about the inevitable bust, and that is the point that we have made. We have never said that the global financial crisis was coming, but we did say the boom must end, the good times must end. History teaches you that. You do not have to look very hard to see the boom and bust cycle that is the economic cycle. If it was not the GFC, it may well have been the end of the resources boom. There could have been any other reason for this to end. Irrespective of what has happened, the good times ultimately decline, and they have declined quite sharply at this stage.

It is interesting that Ms Hunter talked about the fact that the economic white paper has been superseded by Capital development: towards our second century, and she said that is reasonable. We agree that it is reasonable for plans to be superseded by new plans. Ms Hunter went on to say one should aim higher, but that is the problem—there is no aim in Capital development: towards our second century. It has just abandoned the field.

It is interesting to remember what Mr Quinlan said about diversifying the economy. It is interesting that the Treasurer has basically run up the white flag of economic surrender and diversification by saying it is just not going to happen: “We haven’t got any mines. Don’t you know? We’re not going to have manufacturing. Don’t you know? Therefore, we’re always going to be totally reliant on government.” But there is a logic in what Mr Quinlan said in the economic white paper, and I refer the Greens to page 6 where Mr Quinlan said:

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