Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3136 ..
Mr Kaine: There is an alternative. We could sell this place.
MR OSBORNE: "We could sell this place", Mr Kaine interjects. The add-ons will be thrown in free. Mr Speaker, the sad thing for me has been to look at the history of the superannuation liability and to realise that when we were granted self-government in 1989 we did not owe a cent. We had zero debt. We had no superannuation liability. It has been accumulated since 1989. I hear Mr Berry interject. I can understand the embarrassment on his part, having been a member of a government which refused to put away enough money to fix this problem. Look, he shakes his head. I shake my head too when I think of what you did. I may be wrong, but I think the only person that ever put enough money away for the superannuation liability was one Trevor Kaine, when he was Chief Minister. Am I correct, Mr Moore?
Mr Moore: I think that is correct.
Mr Kaine: This is correct.
MR OSBORNE: "This is correct", Mr Kaine says. Mr Speaker, I do not want to slow up the process. Obviously, the sale of ACTEW cannot go ahead without the support of this Assembly. But I think it is vitally important that we allow many of the peripheral things to take place. I have no problem with allowing the Government to do that, as long as it acts in the spirit of this motion, the last bit of which is that the Government not go ahead with the final ownership aspect of ACTEW until we report back. I have laid my cards on the table, Mr Speaker. I have been speaking about superannuation for a number of years. So it is a real problem for me. When you have people like the Auditor-General issuing reports saying that a cash injection is the only way to go, I think that Mr Quinlan does have some hurdles to overcome.
Quite clearly, the Government would like to see the sale proceed and the legislation pass in two weeks' time, Mr Speaker. My colleague Mr Rugendyke, who is not as clear-cut as I am on the issue of the superannuation problem because he has not followed it to the extent that I have, and I have agreed to the request of the Labor Party to hold it off until the first sitting week next year, but I fully expect at that time to be voting for the sale of ACTEW to proceed.
Some time has been lost, Mr Speaker. Perhaps, in hindsight, when Ms Tucker put her motion up, I should have been a little bit quicker on my feet and supported the referral to a committee back then, and perhaps we could have been making a decision at the end of the year. But that is my fault, Mr Speaker. I accept that. So we will now go into the Christmas break with a fair amount of work to do in the next couple of months. I am looking forward to it. I am looking forward to assisting Mr Quinlan in this daunting task. I know that deep down inside he is really looking forward to it.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (6.39): Mr Speaker, I think this motion gives us the chance to face the big issues to do with this particular decision. I have said before, and I repeat today, that our decision on the future of ACTEW is the most significant financial decision that the Assembly will make in this term and one of the biggest it will