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Thursday, 21 June 2012
Page: 7486

Mr BALDWIN (Paterson) (13:51): The Labor Party has been very sensitive to our side highlighting their tourism flip-flops. At least the member for Batman, the tourism minister, never lost his good humour. On 2 March 2012, he said to the National Tourism Alliance in Cairns:

I have heard of no potential increase to the Passenger Movement Charge.

This was despite revelations this week that his department had already begun modelling to defend that outcome. The night after the budget the minister appeared before the National Tourism Alliance saying:

I know there are people here who are upset … but my job is to defend the government so I will defend the government.

Later that month he was more candid. To quote Travel Weekly on 30 May 2012:

As lobbying continues, it emerged that tourism minister Martin Ferguson apologised for the increase at a National Tourism Alliance meeting immediately after the budget. He previously assured the industry that a rise in the PMC would not happen.

But this week he had changed his mind again, strenuously defending that measure, saying to the Labor Friends of Tourism group sponsored by AFTA that he believed in the CPI indexation and would defend it even after the minister said he would move an amendment. But the following day he seems to have changed his mind again. He did not come down to the chamber to debate the PMC indexation, and Labor backed down. Given the minister's anger at the industry for achieving two great wins this week, we will call it 'Flip, flop, flap'.