Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3145 ..
MR BERRY (7.16): During his contribution to the debate Mr Osborne made the comment that the previous Labor Government had not made a contribution to the Superannuation Provision Trust. He did acknowledge that it was set up by Mr Kaine and that $71,000 was introduced into the account by Mr Kaine. In the next three years the Follett Government put in about $90,000 and in the following three years about $40,000 was contributed by the Carnell Government. So Labor contributed almost twice as much to the Superannuation Provision Trust.
MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (7.18): I rise just to reiterate the points that have been made. They have been made well. It is late and we are all tired. I will not labour the point, although it is important, I think, just to get these things on the record in terms of this proposal and the amendments. The Labor Party has been engaged in negotiations, as have other members of the Assembly, with Mr Osborne and Mr Rugendyke about the desirability and the good sense of an inquiry into certain of the issues that are most current in the ACT at the moment - the question of ACTEW and the question of the superannuation liability and the attempts which the Government has made to join the two in its endeavours to convince the people of the ACT that selling ACTEW is a good and sensible thing to do.
It is in that context that the terms of reference for the select committee that I propose are in the form they are. Mr Osborne did make some comment about our desire in the Labor Party to see the terms of reference broad enough to include aspects other than just superannuation, and I stand by that. I know that in our negotiations Mr Osborne was never keen on that, but the Labor Party always was and it was always the position we took in those negotiations. I do not think Mr Osborne is surprised that that is the position we have held. In that sense, I am disappointed that Mr Osborne and Mr Rugendyke are not inclined to proceed with the terms of reference as proposed. I take the point that my colleague Mr Quinlan has made. I will see how the cookie crumbles. We are, despite our disappointment, prepared to proceed with an inquiry such as this because it is such an important matter and the people of the ACT deserve an opportunity to have the issues properly investigated and probed.
There are a couple of other aspects of the comments Mr Osborne made that do actually cause me to make some comment. The suggestion that it is up to Mr Quinlan and the Labor Party really does undercut the basis and purpose of any select or standing committee inquiry of the Assembly. These are committees of the Assembly. These are not committees established for the purpose of allowing a particular grouping within the Assembly to progress a particular view. We are proposing here a committee of four.
I think it is unfair and really does undercut the nature and purpose of the Assembly committees and the basis of their operation to suggest that it is all up to Mr Quinlan, particularly if the Government actually succeeds in its stunt to have one of the shareholders, a Cabinet Minister, participate on this committee and then to maintain the fiction that this is all about Mr Quinlan's inquiry, Mr Quinlan's attempts at convincing a sceptical member about the existence of other options for dealing with the superannuation liability - a suggestion made, of course, by Towers Perrin that there are other possibilities. There are going to be three other people on that committee who will play a very significant role in its conduct and its outcomes.