Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3268 ..
MS TUCKER: Now we have the Government and the Assembly telling the committee that we are not going to be able to report on the date that the Assembly agreed on; that the work of that committee is going to be curtailed and shortened by two weeks. In fact, the committee would have less time then to look at the matter. That is a total insult. The Chief Minister and everyone on that side know the complexity of the issues. I do not know how long it took the consultants they employed to come up with other options, but I am sure it was a lot longer than we will be given to come up with them. It is totally disrespectful of the work of the committee. It is about winning. It is always about winning. It is not about respecting process, and it is not about respecting this parliament in any way.
If the Government is supported in this motion, then once again this Assembly is looking like a farce. Why on earth would we be having this committee and shutting it down two weeks early, when we already know it is going to be a damn hard job to get the work done? Taxpayers' money has been allocated to do the job. We have had permission to get expert advisers in. All that will go down the drain because the Government wants a vote two weeks earlier. They amended the motion from "no more action on the sale of ACTEW" to "the final ownership". As Mr Quinlan said, the Government is probably very busy right now proceeding with their agenda, confident in the knowledge that they will get the support ultimately. No doubt, they will continue to do that.
The Government wants to make the time two weeks shorter. I do not know what the reason behind that is. Maybe someone is pulling the strings and saying, "We are not going to buy ACTEW if you do not give us an extra two weeks". I do not think it is in the public interest and I do not think it is in the interest of this Assembly to once again allow this Government to be so contemptuous of the Assembly's will.
MR CORBELL (7.54): Mr Speaker, this is an underhanded and sneaky move and, if it is not against the letter of the Assembly resolution, it is most certainly against the spirit.
Mr Moore: The Assembly can overturn its own resolution.
MR CORBELL: Mr Moore interjects that the Assembly can overturn its own decision. Of course it can, on a substantive motion. That is not what this motion is doing. What the Government is attempting to do here is shorten the amount of time available to the select committee on superannuation liabilities to inquire into that very important issue. This Assembly has already made a decision that, in the interests of those members of this place who are undecided on the sale of ACTEW, this question of superannuation liability must be investigated. The Assembly, at the time that it debated that motion, considered what timeframe should be in place for the committee to do its work and then report.