Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 956 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
to privatise a Territory-owned corporation, it would require the Territory Owned Corporations Act 1990 to be amended to delete references to that particular company in Schedule 1 of the Act. It is also likely that separate enabling legislation would be required or that any inconsistent provisions in associated legislation would have to be removed through consequential amendments. Either way, this allows the Assembly to influence any decision to privatise.
Mr Speaker, I put it to you that the amendments proposed by Mr Corbell are unnecessary, as the Government would not be able to privatise a Territory-owned corporation without the support of the Assembly. Indeed, if Mr Corbell had cared to seek an understanding of the issues, he would have realised that, in other jurisdictions, any proposal to privatise government business enterprises has required specific legislation to be approved by parliament. As I have already pointed out, the situation in the ACT is no different. If the Government were to decide to privatise a Territory-owned corporation, this would require a number of legislative measures to be passed by the Assembly right now. Therefore, the Assembly would be fully informed of the Government's intentions and would be able to support or dismiss the proposals through a simple majority. However, none of this appears to satisfy Mr Corbell's desire to allow his party to have a veto vote on such matters. That is what we are talking about here - a veto vote.
Mr Corbell: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker, under the standing order relating to relevance. This Bill in no way deals with the issue of a two-thirds majority, and I do not understand why the Chief Minister is debating it at this point.
Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, on the point of order: When Mr Corbell presented this Bill he talked about a two-thirds majority. That was his original announcement. He also made it clear that he wants to amend the standing orders to include a two-thirds majority as the operative provision of this legislation. It is intimately related to what has been put forward.
Mr Moore: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: Line 10 on page 2 of the Bill refers to "special majority". A special majority means something other than a conventional majority; so, of course it is relevant.
MR SPEAKER: I uphold Mr Moore's point.
MS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Again I am flabbergasted. Aside from satisfying any legal requirements, I have also advised the Assembly that the Government is conducting independent strategic reviews of ACTTAB and ACTEW that involve extensive public consultations. I have further stated that the findings will be publicly released and tabled in the Assembly before finalising any decisions upon ownership. Not only are we saying that we have to pass pieces of legislation or amendments to legislation, but also we are consulting the community and having those reports tabled in the Assembly. So much for Mr Corbell's claim that the Assembly would not have any involvement - and I use that term which he used, "any involvement" - in considering the possible privatisation of Territory-owned corporations.