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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2450 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

social concerns, as I said in my opening speech. For that reason the arguments that are coming from Mr Moore on that issue are very, very worrying, as are the arguments generally from the other side because of their absolute trashing of the committee system by suggesting that someone with a strong point of view cannot be on it.

I have a very strong point of view on this. I have very strong concerns about how the long-term benefit of the ACT community will be affected by privatisation. I want to see that addressed and I want to see the community involved. I absolutely support Jon Stanhope's position on the absolute contempt with which the Liberal Party and Rugendyke and Osborne are treating the community by the position that they appear to be taking today. I do not agree with their argument that having someone with a strong position is somehow making a committee inquiry invalid. It is a nonsense of an argument.

If this is the only way we can allow the community to look at this issue then I am quite happy to stand aside and let Mr Kaine, Mr Osborne and Mr Rugendyke do it. Mr Osborne said to us, "I will be brief". That is an insult to begin with. How dare he be brief on this issue. How dare Mr Rugendyke not yet have spoken on this issue. The community has a right to know why they are taking the position they are taking.

Mr Osborne also said he could be brief because the principles are understood by everyone. This afternoon I will seek to suspend all standing orders that are necessary in order to give Mr Osborne unlimited time to explain to us all the issues around the privatisation of ACTEW because he told us today, "The principles are well understood. We don't need an inquiry because we already understand the issues". Mr Rugendyke, however, whom we still have not heard from, has said to me that he does not understand all the issues, but maybe he has got across them since I spoke to him.

For that reason I will support Mr Kaine's amendment. I hope that in this particular form of committee the community at least will have an opportunity to have input into this debate.

MR HUMPHRIES (Acting Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (1.16): Mr Speaker, I want to briefly indicate that the Government does not support this amendment. Members should not be fooled about what this means. It is obviously possible, under the standing orders, for members who are not members of a committee to jump up and take part in the process.

Opposition members interjected.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Settle down, please.

MR HUMPHRIES: I do not know what they have been having for lunch. Mr Speaker, the standing orders are quite clear. Members who are not members of a committee are entitled to sit with members of that committee, to ask questions of witnesses appearing before the committee, and to take part fully in the proceedings of that committee except insofar as a vote is concerned or insofar as private meetings - - -

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