Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 2390 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
What an absolutely absurd proposition for this Government to make! If that is the best that they can come up with in their attempt to justify the sale of ACTEW, they are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Compare the way those figures were used with the way I presented the figures in the Hansard that is available to members now, where in Melbourne there was a rate of power off supply of 112.5 and 170.2 minutes.
MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!
MR CORBELL: Compare that, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. I know the Government does not like those figures, but I am using a point of comparison.
MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: You have already spoken to the motion.
MR CORBELL: If you will not allow me to use a point of comparison, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, you are not allowing me to make the points that need to be made.
MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are out of order, Mr Corbell. Address your remarks to the matter before the house, that is, the Berry amendment.
MR CORBELL: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am comparing the activities of the Government, which is the matter of the amendment, with the behaviour of the Labor Party and the way we have presented information. That is an entirely legitimate argument to make.
Let us move on to the figures that the Government has been using to justify the claim that the value of ACTEW will decline by $500m if it is not sold. The Chief Minister has continually argued that the ACT will lose $500m if ACTEW is not sold. But what are these figures based on? If you read the ABN AMRO report, they are based on another study. They are based on the UMS benchmarking study. (Extension of time granted) The UMS benchmarking study was sought by a very reputable organisation, the Australia Institute. It is a respected academic institution whose reports are academically refereed so that it can test whether this claim in the ABN AMRO report is correct. What did the Government say? "We are not going to release that information. You have to believe us". This Government goes around talking about selectively quoting information by this side of the house, but one of the main planks of their argument - that if ACTEW is not sold we will lose $500m - is justified by a report which is not being made public. That is the sort of standard that this Government is setting in this place. That is the sort of attitude that they are adopting to the people of Canberra and to this place. That is an unacceptable approach. They deserve to be censured for that approach. Compare that, again, with the approach taken by the Labor Party, which is to accurately and honestly quote figures available and the sources from which they come. That is the approach taken by this side of the house. Compare that with the secretive and deliberately misleading approach taken by those opposite.
MR QUINLAN (5.08): Personally, I accept the warning offered by Mr Humphries that censures for misleading outside this place may be dangerous ground. I am fairly inexperienced in this process but I do accept that warning. However, in my limited time here I never expected that we would have a censure motion on such a trivial matter.