Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (26 May) . . Page.. 556 ..
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, it is certainly my advice that the forum made it very clear that they did not want public servants involved in the meetings and they wanted to set their own agenda. Quite clearly, that is my advice, and I stand by it.
Mr Corbell: That is not what you said the other day.
MS CARNELL: It is exactly what I said.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Do you have a supplementary question, Mr Stanhope?
MR STANHOPE: Given the views expressed to me by its members, will the Chief Minister confirm that the advice which she has referred to and which she appears to stand by is true? If it is written advice, will she table that advice? Will she, subject to her findings on that, refer the Belconnen pool issue to the Competition Policy Forum?
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I will stand by that statement. It is verbal advice to me. In fact, I checked with the chairman of the forum this morning that his understanding was that the forum had made it clear that they did not want public servants present and they wanted to set their own agenda. Quite simply, I ran that past him this morning and he said that that is exactly the situation.
With regard to referring the Belconnen pool issue to the forum, the forum has every capacity to have a look at the Belconnen pool issue. I have to say, Mr Speaker, that the forum would not be, in the first instance, the mechanism that would be used. The requirement under the competition policy agreement, signed by Rosemary Follett and put forward by the previous Federal Labor Government, requires the setting up of a competitive neutrality complaints mechanism. That mechanism has been set up. I understand that we published the appropriate guidelines and so on in, I think, 1996, Mr Speaker. That mechanism is in place for people who complain. Two people complained and that mechanism under the process that was signed by Rosemary Follett had to be followed, and it was followed, Mr Speaker. There is no reason why the forum cannot have a look at the Belconnen pool issue, or, for that matter, any other issue with regard to competition policy. In fact, we would welcome them doing so.
MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, I also will ask a question of the Chief Minister, but my approach will be totally different from that of the Opposition. I will listen in silence because I need to know the answer to the question, not like those people opposite. Can the Chief Minister advise the parliament as to the current status of the native title claims by the various Aboriginal groups within the Territory?
MS CARNELL: I thank Mr Hird for the question. I think it is really appropriate, Mr Speaker, for this question to be asked on National Sorry Day, and I am sure that members will not mind if I provide a bit of background information.