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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 2393 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

We ought to think long and hard about how we interpret information when it is put forward. We cannot constantly penalise and bring heavy charges in this chamber against people because God has not blessed us with the wit to understand the information given to us. We do not have the right to bring such charges against a person if we have not rung that person up and said, "What do you mean? Can you justify those figures?". The telephone system in this building is quite a good one. So too is the carpet. You do not use up a lot of shoe leather wandering around to someone's office and asking them about something. The Chief Minister talks about non-adversarial government in this town. Yet what do we see? We see a hat dropped onto the floor and bang - censure motion. I deplore that. I would urge all of the players in this chamber to think long and hard about the severity of all this sort of thing and the materiality of this particular issue. Just forget it.

MR OSBORNE (5.19): I move the following amendment to Mr Berry's amendment:

Omit all words after "Government", substitute "and Opposition for their repeated attempts to mislead the ACT community regarding the sale of ACTEW.".

Two things disappoint me about today. Perhaps there were some grounds for Mr Corbell to clarify or at least acknowledge that there was more to what he said in the Assembly yesterday. I think he will concede that. But I have to say as well that I think that the Government could have handled it a little bit differently and addressed it this morning when they learnt about it. I have been quite interested. As you know, I have been on holidays. Since the ACTEW report was tabled, I have been quite intrigued with some of the things that have been said in regard to it. I think that it has been beaten up by both sides. ACTEW is certainly the most important and biggest issue that I have faced in my time here in the Assembly.

In regard to censure motions, we as an Assembly set the bar at a certain height with the censure motion that we had a while ago. I must admit, though, that the two government members did apologise for their misleading. I do not think that Mr Corbell intentionally misled. I think there was more to the information, but I will take his word for it that he did not have it. I am not going to question that.

By moving this amendment, I want to send a very clear message to both the Labor Party and the Liberal-Moore coalition that I would hope that in the next few months the debate on ACTEW becomes a sensible one. I look forward to hearing some sensible arguments from both sides. I have to say that we do not have much to go on. Whether ACTEW is to be sold or not is really up to the crossbenchers. I know that Mr Rugendyke, Mr Kaine and I are looking for something that we can hang our hat on one way or the other. We have not had that from either side yet. By moving my amendment to Mr Berry's amendment, we are sending a very clear message to both sides. I think that this has been an unfortunate debate.

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