Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991

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Parliamentary Record 3


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 1 May 1991 discrepancies of 100% in some cases. As I said to the Leader of the Opposition in yesterday's debate, he has to get it right. He has to be responsible. He has to be accurate. I have put him on notice that, wherever he uses figures, I will have Treasury officers check those figures. His track record over the last few weeks has suggested that, on almost every occasion, the Leader of the Opposition has got it wrong. He needs to be responsible. As I said yesterday, he can no longer continue to use his well-known scare tactics with tales about gas pipelines blowing up, cyanide killing cattle, bags of buffalo ears, blue cows and a whole range of other subjects that he has brought to this House many times in the past. He has to be responsible when he talks about the finances of the Northern Territory and about the impact that some scare tactics can have on the business community and the community at large. I hope he will be more responsible in the future. Mr Deputy Speaker, I move that the Assembly take note of the statement. Mr EDE (Opposition Leader): Mr Deputy Speaker, we have listened to 2 statements on this subject in 1 year. What is the reason for this amazing phenomenon? Obviously, it is an attempt to divert attention from the Estimates Review Committee and the problems that the government has. It is also very obvious that the government is still attempting to overcome the perception that the ERC was debt driven and to convey the impression that somehow it does not have a problem. Last night, we heard the Chief Minister say that we have no debt problem. Mr Perron: We do not have a debt problem. Mr EDE: He was saying that we have 3 times as many assets as we have debts. Among those, he includes all those assets one would never be able to sell in a pink fit. An asset is not an asset unless it can be turned into cash in some form. Mr Perron: What a load of codswallop! Mr EDE: You certainly have to turn your debt into cash at some stage. Mr Perron: Ask the community whether it considers that loans are assets or not. Mr EDE: If that is the level at which you want this statement to be debated, do not accuse us of using political jargon and not getting it right. If you want to be specific and accurate, you should use the correct terminology. Do not use the word 'asset' in that way if that is what you are talking about. Mr Perron: Tell me what an asset is. Come on! Mr EDE: Mr Speaker, the problem is that this government has failed to reduce its spending over the last 6 years. It has rushed with reckless abandon towards the edge of the cliff and now it has to pull back, with a massive cutback, and try to prevent itself hurtling over the edge. These are facts. Northern Territory debt has grown over the last 4 years by 53%. That is higher than any state. Over that same period, Queensland debt has declined by 36%. The problem lies in the fact that it is only now that the government has realised finally that its income is falling. It has taken 6 years. 843

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