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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 2375 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Carnell has been pumping out this kind of rhetoric in the past two weeks as she builds the sense of urgency she needs to push a sale of the $1 billion Actew Corporation through the Assembly by Christmas.

And in the process, she has been a little loose with her figures. Most glaringly, the claim that Actew has lost 175 local businesses to interstate competitors since the electricity market was opened to competition.

Carnell compared that loss with Actew having picked up just nine new interstate customers.

The Canberra Times goes on:

But the two figures are not comparable. Her list of 175 "businesses" counts many of them multiple times - it is, in fact, a list of 175 sites. And the number of sites Actew has picked up interstate is not nine -

as claimed by Carnell -

but 60 or so.

The Canberra Times goes on:

But it wasn't a one-off. The following day she compared the amount of business Actew had lost and gained in percentage terms, saying while Actew had so far lost 17.3 per cent of its contestable electricity business, it had picked up about 3 per cent of new business interstate.

But again, she's not comparing like with like. The 3 per cent is a proportion of total energy sold. The comparable figure for the amount that Actew has lost is 7 per cent, not 17.3. That's a loss of 4 per cent.

Carnell's rhetoric has been a little loose in other ways.

It goes on and on. That is the genesis for this censure motion today. The Canberra Times is reporting openly and quite vigorously, and very bluntly, that Mrs Carnell has been completely loose in the way that she has dealt with this issue.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Stanhope, I hope that you will relate this very shortly to the motion Mr Humphries has before us. No amendments have been moved as yet. I regret that but - - -

MR STANHOPE: Okay. I take your point, Mr Speaker, and thank you for that. But I think it is very important that we understand why the Government has moved this motion today. On the face of it, if one takes account of the arguments that have been used by the Acting Chief Minister and Mr Moore, there is absolutely no basis for bringing this motion forward today. It is completely spurious. It is a sham. It is pathetic.

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