Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 2380 ..
Mr Corbell: No, I did not say that I checked them with the Regulator-General.
MR SMYTH: Okay; I will leave that. It is misleading, however, to have an ill-informed argument misquoting a fact and making an assertion that the private sector has demonstrated that it is unable to provide. This is clearly untrue when you look at the whole picture. Not only do we go out with a letter to the Canberra Times to make this case; we then repeat that case in here. What happened earlier this day when Mr Humphries, it would appear, was going to give Mr Corbell the opportunity to withdraw or qualify his facts was that we had Mr Berry jumping to other conclusions and attempting to get Mr Humphries to withdraw, which Mr Humphries did, which leads us to this censure motion. What Mr Corbell has attempted to do is create a fact. He has attempted to create something that is not true. The period from 1994 to 1998 is the period which Mr Corbell refers to. He acknowledges that privatisation started in 1994. He selects one comparison - between 1995 and 1996 - without looking at the whole picture. He does not go back to the period of public ownership. According to the figures that Mr Humphries has supplied, in 1990 the average minutes without supply per customer was as high as 510. We have 470 minutes in 1988; 470 in 1989; 510 in 1990; 490 in 1991; 438 in 1992; and 315, which is the best that the SECV could do, in 1993. When it moved to private ownership, Mr Speaker, it immediately dropped to 252 minutes. It went to 255 minutes, 203 minutes and 218 minutes.
Mr Speaker, if you are going to make an assertion, if you are going to attempt to create the fact that private enterprise has not delivered and base your case on it, then you should reasonably get the facts straight. To take a single fact out of context and turn it into this myth that the private sector has demonstrated that it is unable to provide is not right. Mr Corbell knew that this was a four-year process. Mr Humphries offered him a broader picture. Mr Corbell had the opportunity to say, "According to Mr Loney, we have got this case" - perhaps Mr Loney should have looked further - "that the Labor Party is trying to create". The fact is now exposed for the sham that it is.
I think Mr Quinlan was correct when he stood up and said that we must look at this in the complete, Mr Speaker. If you look at it over the four years, Mr Corbell is wrong. He attempted to create the fact that the private sector is unable to provide. That is not true. He states again in this place that there has been an increase under private ownership. That is untrue. He should withdraw these comments and he should apologise for misleading the house.
MR BERRY (4.34): What an exercise in pomposity we have had with the patronising remarks that we have just received from Mr Smyth and Mr Moore and the web of deception that has been woven by Mr Humphries, as is his custom! Mr Corbell made it clear that he was referring to a document which was produced by Peter Loney, MLA, in Victoria. The facts that were presented in this house were exactly as represented in the Loney report. There is no distorting that. They are exactly the facts that were presented in this house. Mr Corbell has never sought to hide the fact that he was referring to 1995 and 1996.