Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 2392..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
There was clearly no intention to mislead. There was clearly no deliberate intention or reckless intention. I share Mr Humphries' concerns that we need to take these issues seriously. Censure is a serious matter. Mr Berry's amendment suggests that we censure the Liberal Party, and I believe Mr Osborne is going to suggest we censure everyone. I just want to withdraw from this whole idea, because I think it is getting ridiculous. It is not good for the credibility of the Assembly. For that reason, I will not be supporting either the motion or the motion as amended.
MR HARGREAVES (5.14): A couple of things concern me. It seems to be much ado about nothing on both counts, quite frankly. It concerns me that censure motions of this type devalue and discredit the process. We have other processes within the Assembly's procedures to deal with things we slightly disagree with or where there are interpretative problems. We have dorothy dixers available to do that sort of stuff. We can also put forward motions. We do not have to go down the track of putting forward censure motions.
What we are talking about here is censuring Mr Corbell because one or two members in this chamber have interpreted some factual information differently from the way Mr Corbell did when he presented it. I do not think that is a good enough reason to bring on a censure motion. For the sake of clarification, the matter can be handled in any number of ways. Moving a censure motion such as this one not only discredits and devalues the parliamentary system; it also devalues and discredits the mover of the motion. I express my disappointment in the motion. What we see here is a hypocritical stand on the use of censure motions.
In listening to the debate, I do not understand one point. The Acting Chief Minister said that Mr Corbell, in giving us a set of figures and painting a certain picture, had said, "Things are going to be bad or have come to be bad under privatisation". Mr Corbell gave some numbers to support that assertion. They were from the Office of the Regulator-General for 1995, 1996 and 1997.
Mr Humphries said that Mr Corbell is a naughty boy for painting a nasty picture about privatisation, but on the figures Mr Humphries provided us, the figures supplied by the Electricity Supply Association for the same years, in fact the situation is worse than that portrayed by Mr Corbell. In 1995 the figure, according to the Regulator-General, was 207. The figure put out by Mr Humphries from the ESAA is 255, considerably worse. In 1996 the figures were 218 and 203.
Mr Humphries is doing exactly what he is accusing Mr Corbell of doing, which is selectively using figures. Yet he has the temerity to bring a censure motion against Mr Corbell. There is no way in the world we can support that. I find it somewhat amusing that Mr Humphries wants to censure Mr Corbell for painting a rosier picture than he would have painted himself had he had access to the ESAA figures before he opened his mouth and promptly put a size nine in it. I find that absolutely amazing.