Page 2852 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 24 June 2009

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MR SPEAKER: The Treasurer has the call.

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. He was telling the community that they were saying a firm and decisive no to the budget. He went on to say, “We believe that this is probably the most irresponsible budget in the history of self-government.” He went on in his media statement to say, “My colleagues and I are unanimous that it would be irresponsible to support such a discredited budget.”

Discredited by whom—our political opponents? That certainly carries some weight, doesn’t it? Yesterday the leader took this very decisive position, a strong decisive position that “we will oppose the budget”. And then what happened yesterday? Oops, they forgot to oppose the budget. On every vote on the budget held yesterday in that tortuous debate, there were no noes. It was worse than no noes. They actually sought not to have a vote on the budget yesterday because they did not want to be embarrassed.

In the morning the position was, “We are going to vote against the budget.” Then, when they were asked to vote against the budget, there was silence. Not only was there silence, but they indicated that they do not want to have a call for that part of the budget. That would require them to vote on the budget. What a piece of strategic brilliance! Let’s oppose the budget but then let’s just go really quiet when it goes to any vote on the budget.

Today in the Canberra Times we finally see recognition and acceptance from the Leader of the Opposition that the savings measures they took to the election would not even pay for their election commitments. Finally, what we have been saying for months—the man with no plan, exposed by the City News, now confirms in the Canberra Times that it would not even pay for election commitments.

Land—rent scheme

MR COE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, in your response to the Leader of the Opposition’s question earlier you said that the ACT government will not be indemnifying or providing financial support regarding land rent. However, you did allude to the fact that the ACT government may have first call on the land. Will you please give more details about that?

MR STANHOPE: I will be happy to provide that information, but I will take the question on notice to make sure that it is full and complete.

Energy—heating efficiency

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the minister for the environment. Minister, last week Mr Barr stated that gas-fired water heaters are less energy and water efficient than electric heaters. However, the federal government’s technical manual on energy says, under “energy efficiency”, that “gas hot-water systems produce far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional electric storage systems”. Minister, can you clarify the ACT government’s position regarding the efficiency of gas and electric heating, and is Mr Barr correct, or is the federal government correct?

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