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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 3462 ..

MS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. For the benefit of the Assembly, let me refer briefly to the Auditor-General Act which was passed in 1996 in this house with the support of the Labor Party. This Act lists a number of functions that may be performed by the Auditor-General. The first is "to promote public accountability in the public administration of the Territory". That Act also says - - -

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, did you rule on my point of order?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, I did. I said it was out of order. Please sit down.

MS CARNELL: I quote:

The Auditor-General is not subject to direction by the Executive or any Minister in the performance of the functions of the Auditor-General.

That is the law, Mr Speaker. In other words, the Auditor-General is a truly independent officer of the Territory whose job is to scrutinise the ACT's financial position, and to do so publicly without fear or favour. I used to think that the Labor Party supported the notion that the Attorney-General should perform those tasks, but now I am not so sure.

Mr Corbell: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Chief Minister is expressing an opinion on her view of the Labor Party and that is quite out of order.

MR SPEAKER: No, she is not. She is developing a response. I think I can see where she is heading, but I will leave the Chief Minister to answer that.

Mr Hird: Speaking to the point of order, Mr Speaker, if I may: Would you direct Mr Corbell and the other members over there to the terms of standing order 202? If they keep it up, give them an early Christmas present.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you.

MS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Let me go back for a moment to Tuesday when the Auditor-General released a report entitled "Territory Operating Losses and Financial Position". Mr Speaker, guess what? The Auditor-General brings down one of these reports every year. From listening to those opposite you would have thought that this was a special report that had never happened before. In fact, the Auditor-General has been commenting on the unfunded liabilities of the ACT for several years now. In case the Labor Party has forgotten, let me quote from his report which looked at the Territory's operating loss in 1995-96. That is three years ago. He said:

The unfunded superannuation liabilities are a major component in the accumulating operating losses of the Territory. Meeting these costs cannot unfortunately be deferred indefinitely and, as the consultant's actuary's estimates show, very large amounts of cash will need to be found in the relatively near future.

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