The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (15:29): Before turning to what I was principally going to speak about, the Hon. Mr Finnigan refers to accuracy in statements made by members. I would remind the member to have a look at the humiliating, red-faced U-turn delivered in the other place yesterday by the Treasurer in relation to the possible sale of a building here in the CBD as part of the most recent Mid-Year Budget Review.
When the question was asked of the Treasurer in the last session, in typical bully-boy fashion he sought to belittle the question that was asked by indicating that of course he knew what he was talking about, and his advice was that the government was able to sell this particular building. I would refer the Hon. Mr Finnigan to one of his factional bosses and the Treasurer’s contribution yesterday. It was a humiliating and embarrassing statement for the Treasurer of the state to have to make—a treasurer who is only the second treasurer in the state’s history to lose the state’s AAA credit rating for the state of South Australia. He may well join another Labor treasurer as the only treasurers in the state’s history to lose AAA credit ratings on behalf of the people of South Australia.
The Hon. B.V. Finnigan: What a proud record you have!
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: Never lost a AAA credit rating, Hon. Mr Finnigan, and did all the hard work in preparation for the AAA credit rating.
The ACTING PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Mr Finnigan has had his turn, and the Hon. Mr Wortley will cease interjecting.
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: So, as I said, if the Hon. Mr Finnigan wants to start correcting and pointing out what he believes are the errors of other members of parliament, he would do well to look in his own backyard first, and he can point out to the chamber the errors, misstatements and misleading of his own Treasurer in relation to what was a critical question in relation to the Mid‑Year Budget Review.
I was going to speak today in relation to one issue of the government’s continuing refusal to answer questions on notice, and that was that some questions that I have put to the government over a number of years now in relation to frequent flier points accumulated on overseas travel. Time will not permit me now to go through all the detail of that that today—perhaps I will return to that on another occasion—but, to highlight it again, Premier Rann, Treasurer Foley and the overwhelming majority of Labor ministers for some reason want to keep secret the number of frequent flier points they have accumulated on their overseas travel.
Between them, Premier Rann and the Treasurer have accumulated approximately 40 overseas trips over the past five or six years, and members would be aware that, if they have had 40 overseas trips between the two of them and countless interstate trips, they would be running out of space on their frequent flier points calculator as to how many frequent flier points they have.
The federal Labor finance minister Lindsay Tanner indicated recently that he believed federal politicians were redeeming frequent flier points for personal use, and loyalty scheme expert Clifford Reichlin was quoted as saying that airline points were almost as good as cash, because they can be exchanged for vouchers, holidays, travel or goods.
For some reason, the Premier and Treasurer and the overwhelming majority of Labor ministers are refusing to answer these questions in relation to the accumulation of frequent flier points. I think a useful innovation for an incoming Liberal government would be to take up the practice of the federal parliament, where all federal members are required to provide details on the frequent flier points they collect on official travel, and that information is included in an annual report which is tabled in the parliament. That would be an improvement in the accountability of ministers. Why do the Premier and Treasurer continue to refuse to indicate how many frequent flier points they have accumulated and what they have done with them?