Page 490 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 13 February 2013

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MS PORTER: Minister, what was the impact of the cuts in 1996 on the ACT economy?

MR BARR: I can advise that in 1996-97—

Mr Coe: On a point of order, Madam Speaker—

MADAM SPEAKER: Can we stop the clock. Yes, Mr Coe.

Mr Coe: Madam Speaker, I ask how that supplementary question is directly relevant to the original question.

MADAM SPEAKER: It is directly relevant to the question or matters that arise in answering the question. Mr Barr has raised in the questioning issues about proposed cuts to the public service. It is in order.

MR BARR: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I can advise that the result of the impact on the ACT economy in 1996-97 was an increase in the ACT’s unemployment rate by one percentage point, a $25,000 drop in the average price of a Canberra home—and I would of course remind members that in 1996-97 that was a very significant proportion of the value of a home in this city—and an increase in personal bankruptcies in the territory by around 100 per year. The expectation prior to the 1996 election was that 2½ thousand jobs would be lost. That was the public statement of the incoming government. After winning office, more than 30,000 public servants lost their jobs. We do face, according to the shadow treasurer, who said it on the 7.30 program, a further 20,000 job cuts. He said that on 8 May 2012.

Mr Smyth: No, he didn’t say that and you can’t lie to the Assembly.

MR BARR: No, he did. He said on 8 May on the 7.30 program—

Members interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order! Can you stop the clock. Sit down, Mr Barr. Mr Smyth, can you withdraw that, please?

Mr Smyth: I withdraw, but you cannot mislead the Assembly. He needs to quote the whole quote, not interpret the quote.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, you know as well as I do, or better than I do, that if you want to make that allegation you do it through a substantive motion.

MR BARR: Is he going to withdraw?

MADAM SPEAKER: Have you withdrawn?

Mr Smyth: I did; I withdrew it.

MR BARR: And then with a snide comment is he going to withdraw?

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