Page 110 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 14 December 2016

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cost the commonwealth more to move this agency than they will get in any benefits back, and the impact for the ACT is significant.

Mrs Jones interjecting—

MR BARR: And that the peanut gallery, the Muppets over there, interject on this even when they oppose Barnaby Joyce’s decision—

Mrs Jones: Point of order, Madam Speaker. I do not know that being referred to as a Muppet is particularly parliamentary language. I certainly do not think my intellectual capacity is that of a Muppet.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Mrs Jones. Chief Minister, just be mindful of your language.

MR BARR: Indeed, I withdraw, Madam Speaker. I would not want to be ungracious to the Muppet Show.

Mrs Jones: Point of order. Madam Speaker, I do not appreciate being referred to again as part of a Muppet show, and I do not think that the women in this place should have to listen to that.

MADAM SPEAKER: Chief Minister, the tradition is just simply to withdraw.

MR BARR: Indeed. I withdraw, Madam Speaker. The point, though, is that those opposite interject on me for pointing out a stupid decision from the federal government that they agree is a stupid decision. The Leader of the Opposition has at least had the courage to go on the record and go, “That was a very bad decision.” It is a very bad decision, and it is another example of the sorts of decisions the federal government has been taking that are detrimental to the ACT.

One of the good things about the last four or five years has been that our economy has diversified and that we are more resilient than we were, for example, 20 years ago when the Howard government was elected and sent our economy into recession with the decisions they took. We certainly learned the lessons of that experience, and we used our budget in that time to keep the ACT economy growing. If we had not done that, there was nothing else out there that was going to achieve that. So I am very happy to have that debate.

Fiscal austerity, a smaller economy, higher unemployment, lower growth rates, recession—that is Alistair Coe’s recipe for the ACT. That is the fiscal direction he wants to pursue for the sake of saying in one particular year that he had a lower budget deficit than the Labor Party would run in government. What an outstanding achievement for the people of Canberra! What an outstanding achievement—more people out of work, a lower growth rate and a recession. Extraordinary that that is the policy prescription.

But on many levels I am happy for that contrast. Let that be the debate over the next four years, but we will continue to respond to the current economic circumstances and

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