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Parliamentary record : Part I debates (17 June 1986)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (17 June 1986)


Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 17 June 1986 a little intrigued and frightened because it was stated that, in working towards improving Australia's economic situation, the government has the capacity . Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for Fannie Bay will resume his seat for a moment. We have slipped up on a small matter of procedure. I ask the Chief Minister to assist by seeking leave that further adjournment debate be undertaken by leave. The Leader of Government Business has spoken, closing formal debate. Mr HATTON (Chief Minister): Mr Deputy Speaker, I seek leave of the Assembly for the adjournment debate to continue. Leave granted. Mr PERRON: Mr Deputy Speaker, I was referring to the ALP policy to redoistribute income progressively in favour of the poorest segment in our society. I am sure all governments and all humane people are concerned, and should continue to be concerned, about the poorest section of society. However, what intrigues and frightens me a little is the very word 'redistribution'. It does not seem to be a policy based on government assistance for the poor but of taking off the rich or the haves and giving to the have-nots. I find that almost frightening as the policy of a political party. I would really like to know what members opposite have to say about it in due course. There are all sorts of ways that governments can gain revenue by means of duties and taxes, but this policy involves redistribution of income. This notion suggests that a Labor government is opposed to the guys who are getting a quid and will take it off them and give it to the poor. It does not intend to encourage them to create more wealth, which will provide more taxes with which to assist the poor. Perhaps I can be enlightened on that matter in due course. The honourable senator made one obvious statement, which perhaps is typical of him. He said that unemployment is recognised as the single most important cause of poverty in Australia. On reflection, one may have thought that perhaps gambling, or droughts affecting the farmers, or bankruptcy, could be the biggest cause of poverty in Australia. However, at the moment, the government recognises that unemployment is the biggest cause of poverty in Australia. I did not think it would require too much study to reach that conclusion. If you do not have a job and rely on the dole, you will experience some poverty. Later in his speech, Senator Robertson said that the federal government continued to be generous in its funding to the Northern Territory government, with the Territory receiving $15m more in the budget compared to the previous year's allocation. In dollar terms, the Territory did receive $15m more than in the previous year but what the senator conveniently forgot, or did not want to mention, was that the year he was using for comparison was the year we had the mini-budget cuts. That was the year that $59m was taken from us. Thus, we received $15m more, but only in comparison with a year in which we received $59m less than we were expecting. I thought I would mention that for the record. Part of the $59m cut related to a halving of the electricity subsidy. As honourable members know, the subsidy is extended for a couple of years. $38m of the $59m cut related to a reduction and deferral of the electricity subsidy. That was the occasion when the Leader of the Opposition made his infamous remark that Territory electricity consumers do not have too much to complain about. I am sure he will live to regret the day that he said that. 50