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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 184 ..

MR SPEAKER: Mr Humphries then did raise a point of order over yours, and I am upholding his point of order.

Mr Berry: I raise it again, Mr Speaker, on the following basis, and I would like to contribute to the debate over this: This issue is about the tabling by the close of business today of a range of criteria. A document has been tabled. The subject of the debate is not the details of the - - -

MR SPEAKER: I do not uphold your point of order, Mr Berry.

MR HUMPHRIES: So we have, Mr Speaker, this document that we are told provides the criteria for the Labor Party's consideration of privatisation. We are led to believe that this is a very rigorous document, containing all sorts of very hard tests on being able to privatise public assets. But some of the, I might say, very meagre references to the provisions dealing with it cover not just privatisation, but outsourcing and corporatisation as well. Mr Berry, in the past, has referred to corporatisation as another form of privatisation; so I suppose it does come under the same heading. But we have here one interesting criterion. It is not clear from this document whether these criteria are alternate criteria or cumulative criteria. Presumably, there is some flexibility created for the Labor Party in that respect, but they say:

Where the Government is considering a proposal to privatise a government entity, it should only agree to the proposal in cases where ...

Paragraph (h) says:

The entity is a drain on the public purse, either from the point of view of profitability or capital raising;

Mr Hargreaves: You are selectively quoting from the document.

MR HUMPHRIES: I am not selectively quoting. I am quoting from your document. It is one of the criteria and, as I said, these criteria are not expressed as alternate criteria or cumulative criteria. In other words - - -

Mr Smyth: Is Labor selling ACTION? Is that what it says?

MR HUMPHRIES: I think it is saying that, if it is a drain on the public purse, then you can sell ACTEW. Criterion (i) says:

There is a demonstrated public benefit of any such sale.

That, of course, is the test that we need to examine in respect of the process commenced under the contestability principles - - -

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, this is an outrageous infringement of the standing orders.

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