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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (17 November) . . Page.. 2562 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

I also understand that the chief executive of my department has, in recent days - I think this is in answer to Mr Corbell's question - held a seminar, and I assume that these would have occurred across government, where the ABN AMRO project report was addressed. Such things as unfunded superannuation were addressed, but at the same seminar so were the recent developments with regard to ACTION buses. I think that our senior managers - people at SOG A, B and C level - should be regularly briefed on issues of importance such as unfunded superannuation, what is happening in ACTION and leadership in the workplace. I would have to say that I would believe my senior managers were not doing their job if they did not hold those sorts of seminars.

Mr Speaker, I also understand that at least the seminar that Mr Corbell was speaking about and others are voluntary. People do not have to go to them. Records of attendance are not kept. But if people are interested in issues of very real importance to the whole ACT Government, they are given an opportunity to gain that information. I think that is totally appropriate, and I will support my senior managers every day of the week for passing on information and having debates on things of real importance, not just to this place but to everybody in the ACT and certainly to the ACT Public Service.

MR QUINLAN: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Does the Chief Minister know whether any thought was given to presenting a balanced discussion of the sale of ACTEW - as the Chief Minister and I did, I believe, in a forum convened by the Institute of Energy and the Institution of Engineers - to incorporate such things as the fact that ACTEW performed $1m better than budget in the first quarter of this year; that competition impacts upon ACTEW's retail arm only; that the water and sewerage components are not subject to market threat; and that the ABN AMRO report states that ACTEW could well repatriate $300m in capital to the Government as an alternative in funding superannuation to flogging off public assets?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, one of the people who gave these presentations was the director of the GBE Management Branch in my department. I am very confident that he would have given a very balanced report.

Mr Berry: Was his name "Mr Goebbels"?


MS CARNELL: I have to say it is not, and I would require Mr Berry to take that back.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, I heard that interjection. The suggestion that a senior member - or any member, for that matter - of the department is a Mr Goebbels, I would suggest, is offensive, Mr Berry.

Mr Berry: To whom?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, it is not just a bit offensive; it is very offensive.

Mr Berry: It applies only to members in this place, Mr Speaker, if you have a look at the standing orders. I withdraw any reflection on public servants, Mr Speaker, but your demand was out of order, because it did not reflect on people in this place.

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