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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2444..


MR MOORE (continuing):

Yes, this is a controversial issue. Yes, there are some significant differences of opinion, and, in the end, it will come down to an opinion. I am now of the opinion that the value of ACTEW will diminish significantly over the next four or five years. It is a matter of judgment. I am of the opinion that if we leave it in public ownership there will be a significant loss of jobs over the next five or six years because they will not be able to maintain the business. The business will be taken over through competition - a competition that was started through agreements that were arranged by Rosemary Follett, the Labor Chief Minister, no doubt with the support of her Ministers in Cabinet. That was the arrangement that was made. That is where this problem started.

Mr Wood: What a lot of rubbish.

MR MOORE: Now we have to look at resolving that problem. I understand why Mr Wood would call out, "What a lot of rubbish". He is appropriately embarrassed about what he put in train. Were they able to resist it, considering that the rest of the Australian jurisdiction supported it? Probably they would not have been able to resist it. Nevertheless, that is what we are dealing with. We have a matter of opinion here that is not going to be changed by the advent of a select committee inquiring into this issue. Mr Speaker, under these circumstances, I will not be supporting this motion for a select committee.

MR HARGREAVES (12.52): I have sat here all morning and I have seen and heard quite a lot. One of the shareholders in this thing is swanning around overseas and the other shareholder has not deigned to grace this chamber with his presence and listen to the debate. He just came down here, gave everybody a serve and then went back to his lair. I suggest that sums up what you quite rightly said, Mr Moore - that we have two positions that are absolutely intractable.

Whilst I think that the position of the Liberal Party-Michael Moore coalition is despicable, and I would expect a similar sort of feeling coming our way, I still would like to appeal to the people on the crossbenches. This is what this debate is all about. It is not about our side trying to convince the Government to do anything because clearly their minds are not open. Their minds are empty. I am really fed up with the way they ramrod things through, just bulldoze them through, and do not give the crossbenchers or anybody else the courtesy that they are due.

When all is said and done, we were elected to represent a constituency and we have to do the best for that constituency, not only for the vested interests which may support the group from which we come but also for the average bloke who is sitting in the electorate. When I sit in my caucus, or when I sit in this chamber, or when I talk as a member of this Assembly, I am influenced by the people with whom I live and work and with whom I move in my electorate. They are the people we are answerable to. They are the people who are going to do us over if we make the wrong decision. They are the people to whom we are going to have to say, "This is why we did it", not people in here. We can rant and rave for a while and we can score some points. We can all have a big giggle and go home. But at the end of the day, when we all go back to our constituencies and we go down to the clubs and the pubs and the parks and we look these people square in the eye and they say, "Why did you agree to sell ACTEW?", we had better have a really good reason for that.


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