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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3265 ..

Mr Corbell: Come on, you have been arguing that for three months.

Mr Berry: The Assembly rejected that idea.

MR SPEAKER: Order, please! You will have the opportunity to speak, provided of course that you are in the chamber and have not been removed.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, what I am asking the Assembly to do is support a date for sitting which is going to accommodate both the Government's concerns and the wishes of the Assembly to have a committee report commissioned over the summer which will still be comprehensive and complete and capable of canvassing the issues more than adequately. On my calculation, very approximately, the committee would originally have had something like 10 weeks from its inception in which to produce a report. It will now have something like eight weeks. If members feel the committee will do a wonderful job in 10 weeks but will fail utterly to do that job within eight, then they have a very poor view of the people who form that committee. I do not have that view. I think the committee should be allowed to bring down its report. I think it can do the best circumstances permit within that period. We should therefore choose a date which is capable of accommodating that concern.

If members are absolutely sure that they will not put the Territory's assets at risk, they should feel free to vote against this motion. But I do not think anybody can vote with that confidence. In those circumstances I ask members to accept that this is a reasonable compromise which both allows the Assembly committee's report to be produced and allows for the Government's concerns about delay and the risk to its major asset, ACTEW, to be accommodated.

MR QUINLAN (7.40): Mr Speaker, not for a moment does anyone in this house believe that the Government is not proceeding apace towards the sale of ACTEW. Dogs in the street have the word as the merchant bankers and the interested parties come and go in this town. It is a relatively small town. Not for a moment does anybody in this house accept the reason given that this early calling of the Assembly together will inhibit progress on the sale of ACTEW. In fact, it would be very responsible of members of this Assembly to be certain that the draft regulatory framework and the framework that is to be drawn from it were reasonably settled before they re-entered the debate on the sale of ACTEW. That and only that will represent the protection of the consumers of ACTEW services and, in particular, the domestic consumers, who do stand to lose, and lose heavily, in this deal.

This motion is purely a contrivance to squeeze the superannuation committee. So thinly veiled a contrivance is it that it is absolutely transparent. I would have thought, Mr Humphries, that you might have been honest enough to have admitted that. You got close.

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