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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 3457 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

I presume that members would want some little time to digest that report before we launch immediately into the debate on ACTEW. I understand that the Government will support this motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


The Clerk: Pursuant to standing order 6, I wish to inform the Assembly that the Speaker will be absent for the period 31 December 1998 to 31 January 1999 and in that period the Deputy Speaker, Mr Wood, will, as Acting Speaker, perform the duties of the Speaker.

Sitting suspended from 12.29 to 2.30 pm


ACTEW - Sale

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Would the Chief Minister be prepared to join Dr Clive Hamilton and others in nominating a panel of experts - local or international economists - to referee the reports of ABN AMRO, the Australia Institute and the Auditor-General so that members considering the proposal to sell ACTEW may have confidence in the argument put in each of the reports?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I think it is absolutely inappropriate. I am interested in those opposite laughing, Mr Speaker. To get up in this place and suggest that the Auditor-General should have his report somehow looked at or assessed by an independent person is about as unacceptable a suggestion as I have ever heard.

Mr Berry: It is done by a committee already.

Mr Stanhope: Will you referee the ABN AMRO report?

MR SPEAKER: Order! I think I should begin this last question time by saying I am not going to put up with a constant stream of interjections when the Chief Minister or anybody else is answering questions.

MS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. The Auditor-General is set up under legislation of this place. The Auditor-General's reports are assessed by an Assembly committee. To assume that somehow we need to put our Auditor-General's report through some sort of an independent process is probably suggesting that the Auditor-General is not independent. If he is not independent he is breaking the law.

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