Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 2766 ..
Mr Corbell: That is a stupid comment, Kate, and you know it.
MR SPEAKER: I am beginning to lose patience and would warn members to cease interjecting.
MS CARNELL: So, not only do we have an Estimates Committee that has not reported on its terms of reference; we have an Estimates Committee report that obviously does not understand the role of various arms of government.
MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak again.
MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. What an absurd range of comments we have just heard from the Chief Minister! It seems to me that the Government's response to the Estimates Committee report because it is unhappy with it is to say, "Let's abolish the process and put in something that we like". That is the Government's response to the Estimates Committee report and that is a gutless response, Mr Speaker; that is a weak-kneed response. It is the response of a government that is unwilling to cop criticism; that is what that response is. Can you imagine any other government around Australia, when it gets criticised by a parliamentary committee, saying, "We are unhappy with that. We haven't done anything wrong. We are going to abolish you and we will set up something else instead."? That is exactly what this Chief Minister is proposing.
Mr Berry: That is what Joh Bjelke-Petersen did, too.
MR CORBELL: That is the Joh Bjelke-Petersen style of government. If you do not like what they say, you get rid of them. That is exactly what the Chief Minister has proposed. That, in essence, is the Chief Minister's response to the Estimates Committee. No detail, no attempt to address each of the issues on its merits, simply saying, "We do not like these. We are going to abolish the committee". That is a gutless approach and it is an approach that shows that this Government and this Chief Minister are so susceptible to criticism that any dissent must be wiped out immediately.
Mr Speaker, I want to respond to two other comments that the Chief Minister made. The first is in relation to whether the recommendations of the Select Committee on Estimates are in accordance with the terms of reference. Let us look at the terms of reference. I specifically direct members to the annual and financial reports for the financial year 1997-98. Those are reports on the operation of each and every agency of the ACT Government and what they have done over the past financial year. In essence, they are a report on what this Government has done over the last financial year. So, any comment in relation to any activity of the Government in the last financial year is entirely within the terms of reference; it is entirely within the terms of reference. We can see that by going through the various recommendations.
Let us look at them: Joint venture audits; that is entirely within the terms of reference, is it not? Tracking agency performances; that is entirely within the terms of reference. That occurred last financial year. Consultancy advice on the proposed sale of ACTEW and how ACTEW prepared its IPARC submission, which was, I understand, prepared in