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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 2672 ..

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! It being 45 minutes after the commencement of Assembly business, the debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 77.

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to:

That the time allotted to Assembly business be extended by 30 minutes.

MR STANHOPE: I will draw my comments to a conclusion, Mr Deputy Speaker. Just to reiterate the point, the Labor Party has responded to concerns expressed to it and, more broadly, by Mr Osborne and Mr Rugendyke that they would wish to see the superannuation issue explored by a select committee. The Labor Party supports Mr Rugendyke and Mr Osborne in that absolutely. We think it is a very wise thing to do. The Labor Party's view is that that discussion, that that investigation, that that inquiry should be conducted in concert with other aspects of an inquiry into the sale of ACTEW.

The two issues are not inextricably entwined. The sale of ACTEW is certainly a different issue. We should not allow the sale of ACTEW to be subsumed by a scare campaign about superannuation, but we are prepared to face that. We are prepared to face up to it in a public process and say, "Yes, the superannuation liability can be met". We do not have to run amok, throwing our arms up, pretending it is all too hard. There are ways of achieving it, just as other jurisdictions have. We commend this motion to the Assembly. We seek the support of everybody in relation to the establishment of this select committee to look at superannuation, to meet the aspirations and the wishes of Mr Osborne and Mr Rugendyke in relation to such a committee, and, at the same time, to look at aspects of the proposed sale of ACTEW that are of major concern to everybody in Canberra. We owe it to everybody in Canberra to ensure that we get it right before we take any precipitate action that actually sends us down a path from which there is no return.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (11.48): The Government will oppose Mr Stanhope's motion. Mr Deputy Speaker, I found that the most convoluted speech I have heard for a long time. In one breath Mr Stanhope was saying that the sale of ACTEW and the unfunded superannuation liabilities were, to use his words, not linked and should not be seen as such, that this was a totally inappropriate approach, and then he heads up his motion, "Unfunded Superannuation Liability - Proposed Select Committee". The fact is what we have here now is far from a narrow, focused inquiry into superannuation liability. These terms of reference would establish a broad-ranging and far-reaching committee to look at anything anybody particularly wanted to look at.

It is clear that this is designed as a stalling tactic, Mr Deputy Speaker, nothing more and nothing less. The Labor Party and Mr Stanhope have said categorically that they will oppose the sale of ACTEW no matter what. Ms Tucker has said that she will oppose the sale of ACTEW no matter what. What is the point of having a select committee if the majority of the committee have told everybody exactly what they are going to do no matter what? They are not exactly open-minded, not exactly even slightly interested in those downstream effects or any of the other things that Mr Stanhope is talking about. They have made their position clear, absolutely clear, Mr Deputy Speaker.

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