Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3272 ..
Mr Stanhope: You are always moralising about attacking people who cannot defend themselves.
MR MOORE: You cannot say to me that I am attacking people who cannot defend themselves. The Australia Institute put out a statement, published it, put it in the media and supposedly had a press conference, and supposedly we are not able to criticise it. What a ridiculous notion! If they put something out publicly, of course we can criticise it. I can also criticise Mr Berry for distributing thousands of leaflets that carried a fundamental financial error and then blaming his colleague because he put something out without double-checking it.
The point about shortening the time for the committee's work by two weeks is that the Auditor-General, in a report presented today, has addressed in detail the very issues that this committee will look at. It would be reasonable and rational for this Assembly to say, "This work has already been done. We really do not need this committee, because we can read the Auditor-General's report. It has been done completely independently". Instead of that, the Government has proposed that we shorten the committee's time by two weeks, a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
Mr Corbell said that the committee has set its direction and is well under way. I believe that the first full meeting of the committee with all its members was today at lunchtime. I may be corrected on that but I do believe that that is the case. Mr Corbell went on to say, "This is terrible, because the Government has lost the debate". No, Mr Corbell. The Government lost a vote at the last sitting and we have brought on a modification to that resolution. I do not disagree with you about losing the debate on the last round, but it is a perfectly reasonable thing to modify a motion or the way we are going to respond. It is not sneaky and underhand. Being sneaky and underhand is not putting a motion up in the Assembly for the Assembly to consider. In no way can that be considered sneaky and underhand.
I would also like to take issue with Mr Corbell on this idea that the only reason for establishing this select committee was to make sure that members were more informed. No, Mr Corbell, that is not the only reason. You and I both know that in dealing with policy and implementation of policy there are three ways to operate. One is that you go for it; two is that you oppose it; three is that you find ways to delay. These are all valid and normal ways of dealing with policy and are tools that we as members of the Assembly use. Of course, the establishment of the committee is part of the delaying process. As I say, it is a perfectly valid policy methodology. I do not suggest that delay is the only thing you are trying to achieve, but it is not fair to say that the only reason for the select committee was to inform undecided members. If that was the only reason, members could read the Auditor-General's report and they would be informed. They could also read the Australia Institute report, with its $1 billion error, a fundamental error on which this whole debate hinges.
What we have here is a clear agenda by the Government to sell ACTEW. Why do we have that clear agenda, and why do we want to sell ACTEW reasonably quickly? It is not just to do with being conservative. In fact, contrary to what Mr Berry says, for me it is exactly the opposite. I want to be sure that I can have adequate funding as the Minister for Health to be able to do the things that I think are important in health and