Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2436 ..
MR OSBORNE (continuing):
who I am told recently made a statement along the lines of why should he agree to a select committee on the GST when more than half of the members had already made up their minds. I have some excerpts from papers in relation to what Senator Bob Brown said.
Mr Speaker, I present the same point to Ms Tucker now. Will she learn anything from her select committee that could possibly change her mind about selling ACTEW? Will the Labor Party learn anything from this inquiry that could possibly change their mind? Of course not, Mr Speaker. They have already ruled out the sale and will stick to that view regardless of what information the committee turns up. I have not heard even one word from either of those two groups that they are even close to indicating that they are open minded. The only three members who are yet to make up our minds are Mr Rugendyke, Mr Kaine and I. This is not a decision to be delayed, Mr Speaker. I cannot speak for Mr Kaine on this matter, but my colleague Mr Rugendyke and I are quite capable of making this decision without the aid of another inquiry on the general merits and principles of privatisation.
One thing that I would like to do, Mr Speaker, is to caution the Government in case they are getting a bit excited right now. Our decision to reject this inquiry is not an indication of support for the sale of ACTEW. I intend to work with Mr Rugendyke and Mr Kaine over the next few months, and I also intend to work very closely with the Labor Party, in particular Mr Quinlan, former accountant of the year at ACTEW. I will throw that in, Mr Speaker. The most positive thing that I feel has been done was a visit from Mr Stanhope last night and the meeting I had with him this morning in which we spoke generally about this issue. I certainly intend to do that again in the future.
Mr Speaker, I will not be drawn into saying anything prematurely. This is a huge decision. I will speak in more detail when I am ready and am across all the issues, not when the Labor Party or the Greens think it is time that I should say something. At the end of the day, the decision I will make will be a very tough one, but I will be making it in the best interests of the Territory as a whole. That is why I will not be supporting this inquiry, Mr Speaker.
MR KAINE: I seek leave to speak again to this issue so that I can propose some amendments to Ms Tucker's motion.
MR KAINE: I thank members. I expressed some concerns earlier about the reporting date that Ms Tucker is proposing. This amendment would bring the reporting date forward from the first sitting day of June to the last sitting day of March, which reduces the timescale, not as much as I would like but it certainly brings it back somewhat. The other proposal is that the options considered by the Government and discarded should also be under consideration so that we can know at the end of the day what other options the Government did look at. I seek leave to move the amendments together.