Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2449 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
the select committee is the fact that it will be peopled by members who have fixed views on the matter, which I think is a silly argument, and if the only way to provide for the people of Canberra, for interested individuals and groups, to make formal representation to this place is through this proposal, then it is important that it be supported. That is why the Labor Party is supporting it.
We will have the opportunity, if this proposition is supported, to give evidence before the committee, just as other members previously in this place have given evidence before committees. The ALP can make a submission, the Government can make a submission, the Greens can make a submission, they can give evidence, and those decisions can be weighed up.
I cannot see how anyone could not support this unless they feel a little uncomfortable with having all that responsibility on them and have to actually weigh up the arguments. This is a sensible proposition. I hope that members of the crossbenches feel it is one that they can support. They can actually act in the best interest of the people of Canberra by giving members of the community an opportunity to formally have their say.
MS TUCKER (1.11): I also am willing to support this amendment. I also acknowledge that it is a very unusual proposal. If you listened to the arguments that have come from the Liberal Party and Mr Osborne - I am still waiting to hear Mr Rugendyke explain his position to us and to the community - they denied the credibility of a committee which had a Labor person on it, which is a most extraordinary argument in this place. It would suggest that most committees that we have should be made invalid. We may as well throw the reports into the bin because most of them, under this particular view, would be invalid.
I think there is a point that we have to make here. There is some confusion about having a fixed position and having concerns, very strong concerns, about an issue. There is a difference. You may well have both. You may have a fixed position and you may well have strong concerns. The terms of reference of my inquiry would have allowed those concerns to be addressed. There are genuine concerns around the issue of the privatisation of ACTEW in particular and the regulatory framework.
I found it extraordinary that Mr Moore could say, "We have the discussion about the sale of ACTEW and then we have the discussion on the regulatory framework". Why that is extraordinary is because Mr Rugendyke and Mr Osborne have confidently said to the ACT community, "We care. We care about the community. We care about employment. We care about the water". They keep telling us that. If their decision to sell ACTEW or not to sell ACTEW is based on whether or not their concerns are addressed, they must understand and approve of the regulatory framework first. How can they possibly support the sale of ACTEW if they do not know that those issues can be addressed?
We have had a thumbnail sketch of a regulatory framework presented to us so far. That is acknowledged by the reports and the consultants. We do not know that those issues can be addressed by a regulatory framework at all. There is dispute about whether private and public sectors deliver services with the same adherence to environmental and