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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 2273 ..

Mr Corbell: You wouldn't have a clue.

MR HUMPHRIES: If you want to hurl abuse across the chamber, Mr Corbell, go right ahead; but I am going to answer your question by saying that I do not know what has been the totality of discussions between the Chief Minister and the chief executive of ACTEW on that question. Your question, therefore, rests on a premise which I do not believe you can support without access to the full information.

MR CORBELL: That was a pathetic answer from the Acting Chief Minister, Mr Speaker, but I will ask a supplementary question anyway in the vain hope that I will get an answer.

MR SPEAKER: Just do that without a preamble, thank you.

MR CORBELL: Acting Chief Minister, are you aware whether the Chief Minister sought or gained permission from the customers of ACTEW before naming them publicly and releasing this detailed information about their new contracts with other electricity suppliers that the chief executive officer of ACTEW had stated was commercially sensitive and should not be released? Does the Acting Chief Minister, or indeed the Chief Minister, have any other information which might be commercial-in-confidence now but which the shareholders might decide to selectively release to the media when it becomes politically expedient to do so - for example, the currently-secret UMS benchmarking study which the Government has refused to release because to do so would be to breach commercial-in-confidence arrangements with customers?

MR SPEAKER: Some of that is hypothetical, Mr Corbell.

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, Mr Speaker, the second half of the question is certainly hypothetical. Mr Speaker, I repeat that the Government does not intend to act in this debate in a way which is prejudicial to ACTEW. That will remain our reference point in considering this debate. On the first question about consultation with customers, as I have already said to Mr Corbell - he was not listening, obviously - I do not know what discussions have taken place between the Chief Minister and the chief executive officer or between their respective officers about the question of the release of information, but I remain confident, Mr Speaker, that the Government will continue to work closely with ACTEW to protect ACTEW's position in the course of this debate. It does puzzle me, though, that, in the course of his question, Mr Corbell suggests that it was quite wrong to release commercially-sensitive information in the form of the list of those names; yet, only three or four days ago, Mr Corbell insisted that we release the UMS study, which, of course, is highly confidential and contains not just information - - -

Mr Corbell: I am just trying to determine what the standard is here. Either it is commercial-in-confidence or it isn't.

Mr Stanhope: That's the point.

Mr Corbell: That is exactly the point, Gary.

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