Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1650 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
although they did not want to tell the people of Canberra at that time that that was their intention. They made a decision some time ago. Indeed, I understand that right back at the infamous love-in on the Federal Highway at the Eagle Hawk resort, the decision was made that these assets should be sold, but we have waited until now for that agenda to become clear. The people of Canberra, just like voters right across Australia, are sick of governments that make commitments before elections and then do not honour them afterwards and go around and sell the assets out from under the people of this city. I think people in this city deserve to be very concerned about what we have seen emerge in relation to the ACTTAB report in the last few days.
It is quite clear that the Government did not go out and say, "Prepare a fair, independent analysis of the operations of the TAB". In fact, this Government did quite the reverse. They commissioned a firm that they knew would provide the answer they wanted. They knew that the consultants they commissioned had prepared a report on the Northern Territory TAB which said very clearly that that organisation should be sold. For that reason, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Government thought that they would be an appropriate firm to deal with the issue of whether or not to argue for the privatisation of ACTTAB. That is what has occurred with this Government.
We heard the Chief Minister earlier in question time today attempt to justify her decision about ACTTAB by blaming it on the New South Wales Government. What an amazing course of action from this Chief Minister. It makes absolutely no sense. Indeed, it does great discredit to the Chief Minister's argument for her to continually stand up in this place and say, "We are doing it because that is what the New South Wales Labor Government did". What sort of logical argument is that, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker? It is not an argument at all. For the Chief Minister to stand up here and use that argument is completely unacceptable. Either she has the strength of her convictions or she does not. For her to go around and say she has to do it because some other government has done it is nonsense. I do not think it appropriate that this Assembly should continue to hear what can only be termed a pathetic excuse from the Chief Minister on this point.
This report, as has been revealed in the media over the last few days, is very much a copy, in significant portions, of the recommendations and the analysis made in the report prepared by the same firm on the Northern Territory TAB. It is not as though there are minor bits here and there; it is not as though there is an occasional reference. There are 38 pages out of 76 pages which have been taken, substantially or otherwise, from the report prepared by the consultants on the Northern Territory TAB and placed directly and literally into the PKF report on ACTTAB. That is a very concerning development. When the Government commissioned this report we had an expectation, and the people of Canberra had an expectation, that they were looking for a report that would provide them with a fair and independent analysis. But that was not what the Government was looking for at all, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. They were looking for a report which justified a decision they had already made, and that was to sell.
The Chief Minister stood up in this place earlier today and suggested that the Labor Party and other members in this place, and other people outside this place, were making allegations about the competence or the professionalism of the firm associated with this report. I want to put on the record now that that is not what the Labor Party is doing.