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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 2376 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

It is a joke that the Government should move this motion today. Mr Humphries actually tabled a document which substantiates the very figures that Mr Corbell used in his release. I think it is quite intriguing that, in a censure motion challenging that Mr Corbell misled, the Acting Chief Minister tables a document that substantiates the very figures, the very numbers, that he used. It is bizarre. We are going through some charade here. It is all about the article in Saturday's paper and the fact that Mrs Carnell has been sprung. In the words of the Canberra Times, Mrs Carnell has been loose with her rhetoric.

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I have listened for some while to Mr Stanhope's comments but they do not relate in any way to the motion before this Assembly. If there has been, in his view, some other misrepresentation by Mrs Carnell, he should move a separate motion about that and we will have a debate about that. This is about Mr Corbell's comments.

MR SPEAKER: I have said this before. I am aware that there are amendments that are being proposed which relate to other things, but at the moment they are not on the table. I must remind members that they only have Mr Humphries' censure motion under debate at the moment. I would ask members to be relevant to that.

MR STANHOPE: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. I was reading directly from the Canberra Times. I was making the point when Mr Humphries interrupted that it was actually quite kind of him, but nevertheless quite bizarre, that he should table a document which substantiates the very point that Mr Corbell has been making - that he did not mislead in any way.

The challenge that Mr Humphries is throwing down here is not so much that Mr Corbell misled. He is challenging the fact that he did not know what was in Mr Corbell's mind at the time that he made his statement. Mr Corbell made a statement based on a document that he was entitled to have regard to. He quoted it precisely and exactly. It transpires that the numbers that were used were correct and the source that was quoted was the correct source. They are the facts.

What is this mysterious basis for this censure motion? It is not based on any desire for the truth because the truth is quite plain. The truth is as put by Mr Corbell. So we look for the other reasons why the Government has felt the need to move this motion. The reason the Government felt the need to put this motion is that it is desperate to cover up the fact that it has made absolutely no credible claims for the sale of ACTEW. It is losing the public debate. It has lost the public debate absolutely. It continues to lose it and it will continue to lose it. The people of Canberra do not want ACTEW sold. The Government knows that the people of Canberra do not want ACTEW sold and is desperately looking for some way to create a smokescreen, a diversion. It is seeking to create some noise and smoke. It is beating up an absolutely outrageous scare campaign on the superannuation liability and is moving outrageous censure motions against the Labor Party simply for participating in the debate. That is what this motion is all about. It has nothing to do with any desire to suggest that Mr Corbell in any way misled.

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