Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3267 ..
MR KAINE (7.48): When this proposal that we meet at an earlier day than originally scheduled was put forward it did present some difficulty for me and I knew that it presented some difficulty for other people. However, 2 February does not present a problem. Perhaps members of the Opposition are losing sight of the fact that when the Assembly meets a little earlier than might otherwise have been the case to look at this matter again it will be entirely in the hands of this Assembly whether on 2 February it approves what the Chief Minister and the Government wish to do or whether it sees fit not to. The fact that we are meeting to look at the matter does not mean that there is any finality to the debate, so long as it is of no inconvenience to the members to be here on that day and to resume the debate. Early in the debate I indicated to the Government that I would like to see some conditions met before I would agree to their going ahead. They were pretty specific and fairly substantial conditions. If the Government can meet those requirements by 2 February and satisfy me that they are taking care of all of the things that are of concern to me, then I have no objection to debating the issue and proceeding on that day. But, if I come here on 2 February and I am not satisfied that the Government has met the preconditions, then I am free to move a further adjournment of the debate and any member of this place is free to do the same. I do not see why there is such concern that somehow or other the Government is pre-empting the debate.
I acknowledge, and I always have done, the genuine concern on the part of the Government that the longer the sale is delayed, if it is to go ahead, then the greater the financial penalty we may pay at the end of the day. I think that is a reasonable cause for concern on the part of the Government. They have the responsibility and they have to live with the result. If there is a substantial financial loss, then they are the people, not the Opposition, not the crossbenchers, who have to live with the consequences, so I can understand from their viewpoint why they want to get this thing over and done with quickly.
I have no objection to coming back here on 2 February to continue the debate, but with the reservation that if the Government has not satisfied what I believe to be the necessary preconditions then I or any other member can move a further adjournment. I do not believe that that is at all unreasonable.
MS TUCKER (7.51): I find what Mr Kaine said quite extraordinary. He can speak for himself and say that he has set particular conditions that he wants met by government before he makes his decision, but what everyone in this Assembly knows is that there is a member on the crossbench who actually required the committee to be set up to look at alternative ways to deal with the superannuation liability before he voted on the sale of ACTEW and that Mr Osborne said clearly in this place that if he cannot be shown another way of dealing with the superannuation liability he will vote to sell ACTEW. This is pre-empting the work of that committee unless - and I have not understood this - the Government require that we as a committee also report on this date or before.
Ms Carnell: Yes.
MS TUCKER: Do I hear a yes from Mrs Carnell?
Ms Carnell: Yes.