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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 2268 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

but to a previous generation. The great inequity, Mr Speaker, about the position put forward by the Opposition - that is, that we manage this problem by increasing taxes later or cutting services, whichever it might be - is that it means that future generations would be paying principally for the debt that we incur for our superannuation entitlements and our retirements. Mr Speaker, that is inequity.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Mr Quinlan?

MR QUINLAN: I do not know. I did not get an answer to the first question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: That is not my affair. If you have a supplementary question, give no preamble, thank you.

MR QUINLAN: Given that the sale of ACTEW was not on the Government's agenda eight months ago, can the Acting Treasurer tell the Assembly what was the Government's preferred strategy for addressing this liability before it changed its mind on ACTEW and suddenly produced Towers Perrin, Fay Richwhite and ABN AMRO in a matter of months?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Quinlan says that it was not on our agenda. Apparently it was on Mr Quinlan's agenda, because an article in the Canberra Times of 26 February under the heading "ACTEW sale a chance under ALP" quoted Mr Quinlan as saying that he would not rule out the sale of ACTEW under a Labor government. I will quote it in full:

One of the contenders to lead the ACT Labor Party, Ted Quinlan, conceded yesterday that he could not rule out the sale of ACTEW under a Labor government.

I am quoting you now, Mr Quinlan:

"You just can't give those sorts of guarantees," the former ACTEW deputy chief executive said.

Again I quote:

Any decision to sell would have to be made "before the market hits you".

Mr Speaker, that is what this Government has put very squarely on the table. We said before the last election that we wanted to see what the expert evidence was about the future of ACTEW before we made a decision. We expressly did not rule out the sale of ACTEW. Indeed, Mr Berry, as the leader of the Labor Party, made it very clear, as did Mr Corbell, that a vote for the Liberal Party at the last election was a vote for the privatisation of ACTEW. You said so in as many words. Mr Speaker, people did vote for the Liberal Government.

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