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I suppose that what it all boils down to is that everything I have learnt about ACTEW would indicate that the primary issue, as the Greens have said tonight in declaring that they are not opposed to the corporatisation, is basically a matter of the timing. When do we corporatise? As the Labor Party said this morning on the issue of Versailles, the French people have elected their representatives and the French people are responsible for the decisions that they make. It appears to me that I am in the same situation. I have been elected and I need to make a decision about timing. My two main concerns have been addressed by Mr De Domenico. I think the average householder has been protected. It was then up to me to decide when we should corporatise. I thought about the idea of 1 January 1996, but then I decided: Why wait? A big consideration was the threat that running the two books between now and 1 January 1996 would cost the ACT taxpayers $1m, so that solved that problem. Being an elected member, I was not prepared to waste $1m when I had made up my mind on the path I was going to take.
Mr Speaker, this has been one of my most difficult decisions. I probably did not want to have to make it, but I suppose that in this line you have to make these decisions. What made it harder, Mr Speaker, was the fact that I had to find all the answers myself. I wanted Mr De Domenico to convince me. I found that I had to convince myself. I could see that there were some very valid arguments. I suppose that in the long run I do not think anyone out there is going to be disadvantaged by ACTEW going down this path. With the threat of the national grid coming in, I do not think I had a choice. I will be supporting the move towards corporatisation.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General)(9.14): Mr Speaker, Mr Connolly, who is not here at the moment, posed an interesting question during his remarks, and that was the question of exactly what it is that ACTEW can do in its corporate form which it cannot do in a statutory authority form or some other form. That is a very good question. It deserves an answer. Mr Speaker, the answer I would determine is one that I have gained from personal experience. It is an answer which, I think, goes to the question of not what ACTEW could do but rather how it does what it does. I will explain that by referring to my experience within the predecessor of the ACT Government Service. I do not think there are many members of this place who actually were employees of the Department of Territories in one form or another. I think Ms Follett might have been.
Ms Follett: No.
MR HUMPHRIES: No. Mr Berry was. Mr Moore was, I think.
Mr Berry: I was in a statutory authority.
MR HUMPHRIES: There are only a few of us who were, in effect, in employment within the predecessor of the ACT Government Service. As well as being an employee of the Department of Territories, as it then was, I had had experience before that as an employee in a private sector firm with similar kind of work. I was a lawyer in the private sector and became a lawyer in the government service, so I had the chance to experience the different ways in which those two fundamental areas of employment in our community work.