Page 2588 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013

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So Mr Quinlan’s report was slightly wrong. It is 11 years, not 10 years, based on what is in the budget. Then Mr Barr says, “No, that’s not it either.” We said, “What is it?” He said, “It’s not Quinlan; it’s not extrapolated in the budget.” We repeatedly say, “What is the time frame? Show us it. Show us the analysis.” And Mr Barr refuses to do so.

What he says is, “Sign off on this budget, debate this budget. Trust me. I’m not going to show you what the modelling says. I’m not going to present the facts. Trust me, despite all the available evidence.” I think it is fair and reasonable for the opposition, who are being asked to sign off on, as Mr Barr says, the biggest tax reform in ACT history, to know what the truth is on behalf of the community, because the community are the people that pay the rates.

I commend Mr Smyth for this motion. It is an impossible position for us to be debating this budget next week when we simply do not know what the implications are of what we will be debating.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (10.55): I am pleased to rise in this debate to talk about the budget process and the committee process in particular. I will begin by referring to Mr Smyth’s opening comments, particularly on the bipartisan committee report. I will reiterate what I said yesterday. It was certainly not a bipartisan committee report.

In regard to the particular quotes in the motion from the recommendations of the opposition’s report, I will say that not only did the government members oppose those two recommendations but we tried to remove them from the report, to no avail, because Mr Smyth and Mr Hanson simply voted against our motion to remove them.

I was really intrigued by the new meaning of “abstaining”. Mr Smyth appears to view the word “abstain” as “tacit support”. If we look at the legal dictionary, it says, “To avoid, to cease, decline, desist, dispense with. See also abandon, defer, desist, discontinue.” I do not see anywhere in the legal dictionary that “abstain” means “tacit support”. So I put on the record again that we did not support the opposition members’ report and we certainly did not support these two recommendations that are echoed in this motion today.

I will go to the budget itself. I refer to our report, and I will go to page 72 first, in regard to tax reform. It states:

On 17 June 2013 the Committee considered the following matters regarding tax reform:

whether, and to what degree, ACT households would benefit from reforms to ACT taxes and charges …

a shift from relying on taxes such as stamp duty and insurance tax to a revenue raised from rates;

the number of ACT residents affected by reductions in stamp duty, and broader implications for the ACT economy;

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