Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 3 March 1992



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 3 March 1992

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Parliamentary Record 9


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 - Tuesday 3 March 1992 propping up banks and becoming involved in wonderful building investment deals. The then Leader of the Opposition said that the ALP wanted to establish a version of Western Australia Inc in the Northern Territory. That was the 1987 election promise of the ALP. It wants to say now that we are copying Western Australia. It tried Victoria as a model for a while, before it went on the nose. It tried South Australia, before it went on the nose. It could not really try Tasmania because it had a Liberal government. Now it turns to Queensland. Of course, Queensland has been doing pretty well because it had a conservative government for 28 years. Now that it has started to go backwards, the ALP here will not know where to look next. Even after bringing onto our budget the debts that we have declared in the open, our debt-servicing ratio will be the second lowest in Australia, after Queensland. That is because Joh would not borrow money and had a very low debt-servicing ratio. Somehow Joh was able to work it and I do not know how. I have sat at Premiers Conferences and listened to them talking to Joh about how much he would borrow, and he would not say a thing. We have the second lowest ratio, even after putting these debts on the books. We are hardly going broke. It is hardly irresponsible financial management. And that is after taking State Square into account, a project promoted and supported actively by the then Treasurer, Hon Paul Keating. It was supported by him because he recognised the dire straits that Territory businesses and its work force were in and the need for capital investment. We did need a Supreme Court building and a new Parliament House. The only question was whether we would do it in the mid-1990s or the late 1980s. We decided to do it then because that was when the work was needed. No one will ever persuade me to apologise for those projects. They are magnificent projects. The Supreme Court is something of which Territorians are already proud. They will be prouder yet when the entire State Square project is completed. They will bring their visitors to show them right through the facilities. It will give character to the centre of Darwin. The city park will be there. People talked about that in 1987, including members of the opposition. Those buildings will be of service well into the future. Turning to the specifics of this legislation, I will begin by referring to the history of the project because some members do not understand the context in which decisions were made. Some of the comments that we heard tonight were outrageous. The Leader of the Opposition has a real problem. He ought to remember that, as a politician and a public figure, if he wants to fiddle with the truth and keep changing his views, he needs to have a good memory because, unfortunately, what politicians say is recorded and people remember what they have said in the past. Mr Ede: Like you and the Sheraton. Mr HATTON: On 22 November 1988, the member for Stuart, now the Leader of the Opposition, was talking about State Square. His remarks are recorded at page 4723 of the Parliamentary Record of that date: 'Yulara has brought tourists to the Territory. It has created jobs and it has created wealth'. He changed his mind during the 1990 elections and, on the 7*30 Report on ABC radio, he said that the Northern Territory government should sell. Mr Ede: There is nothing inconsistent in that! 4101