Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 2347 ..
MR HUMPHRIES: It is a hypothetical question, Mr Speaker. Obviously, we want to retain the value of ACTEW's assets, including the assets which are represented by its people. If we believe that it is appropriate to do that, I believe that will be the step taken by ACTEW and the Government working together. I might say, Mr Speaker, that the proposal the Government has put on the table with respect to ACTEW, of course, retains the conditions of all the employees of ACTEW. As they are transferred under this proposal to employment in a newly privatised ACTEW, their conditions of service will be retained and indeed their employment will be retained for a period of at least 12 months. That, I think, is a reasonable guarantee, more than most members of our community enjoy in whatever area of service they happen to work.
MR HIRD: My question is to the Acting Chief Minister. Yesterday Mr Corbell quoted in this place and in a letter to the editor of the Canberra Times figures relating to the reliability of electricity supply in the State of Victoria. He claimed that the reliability of supply had deteriorated under privatisation. In the interests of an open and honest debate, which Mr Corbell has repeatedly called for, can the Acting Chief Minister please inform the parliament whether the information provided by Mr Corbell was correct? Did it provide an accurate representation of the facts?
Opposition Members: Ha, ha!
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I am glad members opposite think this is amusing. It certainly has not been a matter for levity in the past when such misleading statements have been made. Mr Speaker, there are lies, damned lies and statistics and, I might add, Mr Corbell's statistics in this particular case. Yesterday in this Assembly Mr Corbell quoted from a letter to the editor of the Canberra Times containing figures from an unnamed source. Using these selective and deceptive figures, Mr Corbell tried to argue that the privatisation of the Victorian electricity industry had caused more power outages.
Mr Corbell: Is the office of the Regulator-General a deceptive source?
MR HUMPHRIES: He did not quote that in the letter or in his statements in the newspaper, Mr Corbell. He wrote, in this article to the Canberra Times:
... the average time off supply (power failures or outages) per customer in Victoria increased from 207 minutes in 1995 to 218 in 1996.
Mr Speaker, he repeated those comments yesterday on the floor of the Assembly. I have a draft Hansard in which he is quoted as saying: