Page 1769 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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Currently we have no idea how far an Abbott coalition government will go. For some idea, though, we just need to go back and have a look at the Hansard of this place for 27 August 1996. In answer to a question without notice, we have the former Chief Minister Kate Carnell saying:

… certainly comments about 30,000 and so on are way off the side of the graph and certainly not in line with the budget papers themselves.

That is exactly what we saw, Mr Assistant Speaker. Once again I refer to my federal parliamentary colleagues’ press release: as a result of the Howard cuts in 1996-97 the APS in Canberra shrunk to its smallest size since 1984. In 1996-97 private sector employment in the ACT declined by 5.2 per cent, or another 4,700 of our ACT residents were out of work, the same residents who have elected us to serve them. This impact was much worse than what the territory experienced during the global financial crisis.

The ACT’s unemployment rate rose to a record level of 7.9 per cent in 1996-97. The Real Estate Institute of Australia reported a price decrease in median house prices of four per cent while the average for capital cities and Australia as a whole grew by 17 and 15 per cent respectively. If we were to see this again, the median house price, which is currently about $530,000, would drop significantly.

But we already know that Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey’s plans are even more savage. In a more unstable economic time, who knows where Abbott’s slash and burn management will take us? The question is, will Mr Seselja be right there behind him? I have some concerns, Mr Assistant Speaker, about the comments we have heard this morning from Mrs Jones. We heard support for this slash and burn campaign from the Liberals. Mrs Jones interjected earlier during the debate, “Better to have deep job cuts than debt.” I find that astonishing, Mr Assistant Speaker, and I certainly hope that her colleagues in Brindabella do not have the same feelings as that.

Mrs Jones: Point of order.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Doszpot): Stop the clock, please? Mrs Jones.

Mrs Jones: Under standing order 47, I am being misrepresented by Mr Gentleman. I do not know exactly what he is referring to. I have certainly interjected that when there is not enough money jobs cannot be paid for, but I did not interject in the way that he is asserting.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Gentleman, would you like to withdraw?

MR GENTLEMAN: Mr Assistant Speaker, I was in the chair at the time and I wrote the words down word for word. That is exactly the representation of Mrs Jones.

Mrs Jones: Point of order.

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