Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3273..
MR MOORE (continuing):
community care and achieve the goals that this Assembly saw when I tabled "Setting the Agenda". The only way I see of being able to achieve this is in exactly the way the Auditor-General set it out today, and that is for us to be able to resolve our operating loss and to resolve our unfunded superannuation liability. As the Auditor-General put it, if you are going to do it, then the obvious method is to sell an asset that is likely to devalue. That is the clear agenda for me. Politically, it is much easier to go down a different path and it is easier to take the short term - - -
Mr Corbell: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order on relevance.
MR MOORE: I take the point, Mr Speaker. There is an issue of timing. As far I am concerned, when the asset is devaluing fairly rapidly, then time becomes a critical issue. It is that critical issue that we need to deal with today. That critical issue is about a devaluing asset that we need to sell, if we are going to go down this path. If the Assembly should decide not to sell ACTEW, we should also make that decision quickly, lift the shadow, then work as hard as we can to manage it in the best possible way. That is the choice. The shadow is there.
Mr Kaine: Will you put the motion on the table tonight?
MR MOORE: The cards are on the table for you to see, Mr Kaine. I am happy to explain them in more detail to you personally, as is always a delight. A bottle of scotch would be a good idea. Will it be yours or will it be mine? We do not necessarily have to polish the whole lot off at once; we can take some time.
It seems to me, Mr Speaker, that the Government has put up a very sensible proposal here. The idiotic amendment put up by Mr Berry needs to be dismissed out of hand because it simply undoes the purpose of the motion. It reverses the motion. As such, it is questionable under standing orders, but it is probably easier just to deal with it and knock it off.
MR SPEAKER: I think it is important that I point out to members that Mr Berry did have leave to move the amendment, whether members regard it as idiotic or not.
MR HARGREAVES (8.16): Mr Speaker, when I was a manager within the Public Service and I needed to fill a job without anybody knowing about it, I generally put the advertisement in the Gazette just before the Christmas period so that nobody would spot it because everybody was out of out town. When the appeal period turned up, which was in January, no-one was in town then either, so the person of my choice just sailed straight through. One applicant, and away we went. What we are seeing at the moment is a similar approach. I congratulate the Government on its sneakiness. I used to do it myself, and I think it is a reasonably good move. The only thing is that they have been sprung.
One of the difficulties for the superannuation committee is to consider the arguments about how we are going to satisfy the superannuation liability within the environment of the sale of ACTEW. Of course, we are looking at it with a couple of reports to hand. One of them is the ABN AMRO report. That says that the asset is worth a certain amount of money. The Australia Institute says that ABN AMRO got it wrong.