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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (18 August) . . Page.. 3845..


MS MacDONALD (continuing):

place works and consider making the quality of the debate in this place better. You cannot get quality debate when you are sitting until all hours of the night.

I have lost count of the number of times friends and people I do not know have said to me, "What? You sat until 10 o'clock last night? You sat until 11 o'clock last night? Surely no decent conversation can be expected to come out of that! You can't be expected to make a contribution which is valid at that hour of night!"

I think somebody made comment about not gagging the debate, but it is not about gagging the debate. I agree with what Ms Dundas said: everybody has the right, and every side has the right, to make a valid contribution to the debate-that is not what I am saying-but let it be valid and let it be quality debate. I commend the motion to the Assembly. I hope the Assembly will pass this motion because it is an important issue. There are plenty of other important things out there, but they in no way take away from the importance of how we run this place to make sure we are properly representing our electorates and the people who put us in here.

Motion agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.35 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Economy-June quarterly report

MR SMYTH: My question is addressed to the Treasurer. On Friday, 13 August 2004, you released the June quarterly management report. Four days later you released a revised report for the same quarter. Treasurer, when did you see the original management report for the June quarter? Was the expected operating result contained in that report a surplus of $202 million? Did you decide to reduce the operating result in that report by $117.5 million?

MR QUINLAN: I cannot recall seeing the full report as she was printed. I certainly had a briefing on the results. Over time we have had a number of discussions as to how we would treat the superannuation liability.

You will recall that a number of years ago there was, if you like, a windfall gain-a large sum of money that accrued to the balance sheet as a decrease in the superannuation liability. At that time, the government of the day chose to write that off over 12 years, coincidentally giving itself about a $28 million cushion per year for about 12 years, until the superannuation liability was reassessed under actuarial assessment. There was debate as to the appropriateness of that particular treatment.

At the time, the Auditor-General thought that that particular treatment was appropriate. We came to government and said, "OK. Well, if that's what the Auditor-General thinks."We had not thought it was appropriate. But the same Auditor-General did a 180 on us and qualified our accounts for the same treatment of the superannuation adjustment figures, if you like. These are all notional figures.

In the books of the last financial year you will see a few numbers that do not go to the operation of the Assembly: a large amount of superannuation that we have decided to


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