Page 143 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012
On the proposed amendment by Mr Smyth, Mr Seselja has put the challenge out there that if you believe in it put it out there, or words to that effect. I think the information is out there. We have a large amount of information already available. In budget paper No 3, for example, on page 46, which we have spoken to a number of times, we have found that a lot of the information that we think is necessary is there. We have a framework in place, and from the numbers in the budget papers you can see the impact over the next five years of these changes. I think it is quite clear.
In the longer term these things involve a series of policy decisions, and in my discussion with Treasury they have been quite clear about that—that governments will have to take necessary policy decisions along the way, and some of those things will vary. I do not think that it is a simple case of saying, “Give us 20 years of projections.” We have just had the GST cited to us as a good example. I do not recall John Howard ever releasing 20 years of price predictions under the GST. I do not think it is a credible scenario, and on that basis I will not be supporting the amendment.
MR HANSON (Molonglo) (11.14): I am not surprised that Mr Seselja is a little confused about Mr Rattenbury’s role, because Mr Rattenbury says one thing and then does another. He says, “I’m a crossbench member of the executive; I’m not a member of the government.” But at every step so far through the parliamentary debate and particularly in the chamber over the last couple of days—we saw it yesterday with his disgraceful agreement with the government that they would essentially nobble the public accounts committee—he has acted as a member of the government. So the confusion that has been caused is by Mr Rattenbury, who stands up and says, “I’m a member of the crossbench,” and then behaves as a member of the government. If this is the way he is going to behave over the next four years, trying to create this illusion around himself that he is a separate member, that he has distanced himself from the Labor Party, but then on every occasion he is simply in lock step with the government and agrees with them, why bother with this pretence? Why waste the Assembly’s time? Why take your 15 minutes of glory to try and push forward some Greens position? It is just simply untenable. You are wasting everybody’s time by doing so.
What Mr Rattenbury needs to do, if he is going to separate himself from the government, is actually start to take a considered opinion, an objective opinion. But he is not doing that, because what Mr Rattenbury said was essentially that the information is out there, and what Mr Smyth and Mr Seselja have made quite clear is that the information is not out there. Mr Barr says that he has put it out there for the next five years, and that is a matter of dispute, because there is certainly a lack of detail. But what Mr Smyth has specifically asked for is: what is that rate of rates when stamp duty is abolished? We do not know that.
So we have got a government promise, which the Greens backed, that said, “We are going to abolish your stamp duty, and it is coming out of rates,” but they are not telling us what that impact is on rates. The community deserve to know. The whole election essentially was fought on that issue, without that information being available.