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this Assembly? Mr Speaker, I submit that that is an absurdity. It is the responsibility of government to undertake that kind of negotiation and to consider the options. If the Assembly is of a mind to pass this motion tonight, at what stage does it intend to permit the Government to go ahead and even discuss this matter with anybody? According to this motion, if it is passed, they cannot even discuss it with anybody without the prior approval and support of the Assembly. Mr Speaker, it is a nonsense.

Earlier I used the words “purports to”. Such a motion is not necessarily binding on the Government anyway. So, what value does it have? I have only to refer to the practice of the previous Government over its 4½ years in office, in terms of its rejection, non-acceptance or simply refusal to accept motions put to it by this Assembly - recommendations that were put to it through committee reports that were endorsed by this Assembly. Many times they did not adopt recommendations and motions from the Assembly. Therefore, if this attempts to establish a precedent, I submit that it cannot, and I ask members before they vote on this motion to think carefully about what it means. Do we really intend to put such constraints on governments that they cannot even discuss a matter such as this with anybody before they have our approval?

I conclude, Mr Speaker, by noting that, very soon, this Assembly is going to be considering this Government’s budget. It is going to be put to the scrutiny of an estimates committee, and that estimates committee is going to be trying to attack the Government from every possible angle because it has not done the best it can in getting public expenditures down. On the one hand, we are tying its hands behind its back and saying, “You must not do anything that can lead to a reduction of public expenditures”, and, on the other hand, in three months' time, the very people that are putting this motion forward and supporting it are going to be attacking the Government and saying, “Why did you not do something about getting the costs of the public transport system down?”. Mr Speaker, I am back to where I started. This is a nonsense. It is an absurdity. If we are going to pass this kind of motion, all I can say is that executive government had better simply abdicate, because it cannot operate; it cannot function.

MS HORODNY (5.42), in reply: This motion is about the corporatisation, privatisation and leasing of the services and structures of ACTION. It is not about limiting the incidental services provided by interstate operators, as Mr De Domenico referred to earlier in the day. Support for this motion by the Government will assure the community and this Assembly that it is truly committed to open and consultative processes, which was such a significant part of its election platform. Furthermore, Mr Speaker, support for this motion by this Assembly will ensure that this Assembly will have control over any future plans to corporatise, privatise or lease one of the Territory's most important services - our public transport system.

The statement made by Mr De Domenico, that corporatisation is on the agenda for public power utilities in New South Wales, is true. However, I understand that, unlike the ACT, the New South Wales Government has already commenced a process whereby the community will have extensive input into the shape and form of those utilities over a period of many months. In relation to Mr De Domenico's belief in the Hilmer report, which again was mentioned earlier in the day, I would refer him to an inquiry currently

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