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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3199 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Mr Speaker, there are certain things that government should not privatise. There are certain things that are better privatised.

Mr Berry: What about hospitals?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Berry, there are certain things in relation to defence you could never privatise and there are things in relation to the police force, to give you two examples. But there are some activities that can be done better if governments are not necessarily involved. I think your lot really do have an ideological hang-up and are in a time warp in relation to that. I think you really do need to look at reality.

I urge all members of the Assembly not to abrogate their responsibilities. This issue really does have to be determined on its merits, not on ill-informed scaremongering or ideology. Determining the issue on its merits can only lead to a yes vote. Yes, time is crucial, Mr Speaker, because of what is happening around Australia. We have a window of opportunity at present, but if we do not act quickly that window will close and that will cause some real problems for future generations of Canberrans. I commend this Bill to the Assembly.

MR CORBELL (12.05): Mr Speaker, from listening to the debate this morning it has become very clear that the Government, in asking the Assembly to sell ACTEW, does not talk about the benefits of privatisation, except insofar as those benefits relate to the amount of money it will get to deal with the superannuation liability. The Government does not talk about how privatisation will mean better service or better reliability. They do not talk about what benefits will accrue to the company, to the organisation. That is not their central argument. That is not the argument they have put in the strongest and most clear terms to this Assembly. Instead, this Government has chosen to argue that the privatisation of ACTEW must occur because we have a superannuation liability which must be addressed. That is the Government's core argument. That is the Government's central argument, Mr Speaker. That is what, time and again, we have heard in this place. Indeed, we heard Mr Humphries say earlier today, "I have children. I don't want those children to be encumbered with a debt".

Mr Humphries: That was one of two arguments. There were two arguments.

MR CORBELL: Mr Humphries, I was polite enough to hear you in silence. Perhaps you could do me the same courtesy.

Mr Speaker, we have heard Mr Humphries stand up in this place and say, "I do not want to see my children burdened with a debt". We have heard the Government say that the responsibility of members of this place is to take the tough decisions, to make the hard decisions; but, they argue, decisions in the best interests of the Territory. Interestingly, those decisions are entirely financial. As far as the Government is concerned, the only responsibility we have in this place is to manage the Territory's economy and its finances in an effective and responsible way. Mr Speaker, I do not dispute that for a moment.

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