The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:12): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Treasurer with regard to the cuts, privatisations and closures of his budget.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: As the Treasurer is well aware, in his budget a centrepiece is $37 million so that a tram may turn right on North Terrace outside Parliament House. Did he, in his abandonment of the salami approach of small slices and identification of large cuts that could be made, for even one minute consider perhaps not turning the tram right outside this place so that his budget need not turn the entire state right?
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (15:13): This government was elected on two or three mantras. One of those was to clean up the financial mess we inherited. The second and critically important was that, even though we knew we were going to inherit a financial mess, we wouldn't use that as an excuse to break the election promises we made to the people of South Australia.
I instanced in the budget speech that too often in the past, Labor and Liberal governments, state and federal governments, had used the excuse of, 'Shock horror, black hole financial mess', and then proceeded to break every election promise that they made. As I indicated in the budget speech and various other presentations since then, we have certainly said, 'Shock horror, black hole, look at the extent of the financial mess,' but we have not used it as an excuse to break our election promises. And that's the big difference. We have kept our election promises. One of the election promises we took to the election—indeed, proudly enunciated by the Premier on a number of occasions on behalf of the party—was that particular commitment in relation to the tram.
So I am sure that if the government had broken its election promises we would have been roundly criticised during question time: 'You promised you would do this, and now you're breaking that particular promise.' What we're saying is that, even though we inherited a financial mess, even though it's much worse than even we could have contemplated, we won't use it as an excuse to break our election promises. We will keep our election promises, whether it's payroll tax, whether it's land tax, whether it's ESL bills, whether it be trams, whether it be hospital projects or school projects. We will keep those particular promises. The Labor Party, the opposition, can squeal—
The PRESIDENT: Order!
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: —and squeak as much as they like, but we're not going to be diverted from keeping our election promises. We made the election promise in relation to the tram. In this particular budget, we proudly stand by the fact that we're keeping the election promise in relation to the tram project.