Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 3464 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
There are a couple of other points I wish to make. First, is this the same Mr Quinlan, having a go at the Auditor-General, who told this Assembly on 1 September, and I quote, "The Auditor-General deserves every dollar he gets."? Secondly, is this the same Mr Quinlan who, as chair of the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee, recently endorsed the Government's decision to reappoint the Auditor-General for another five years? Is this the same Jon Stanhope who demanded that the Government take action under the Auditor-General's report, released only two weeks ago, which examined bail processes in the Magistrates Court? Finally, Mr Speaker, is this the same Labor Party that appointed this Auditor-General when they were last in government?
Mr Speaker, this is a ridiculous situation. The Auditor-General is, by legislation, independent. For members of this Assembly to doubt that independence, to doubt his competence, is simply unacceptable. I would like to finish, Mr Speaker, by quoting Kim Beazley, when he said last year - - -
Mr Stanhope: A good choice.
MS CARNELL: I agree. Kim Beazley is a good person. He said:
Even though I hated things that the Commonwealth Auditor-General said about us, you actually have to keep their independence preserved.
Mr Speaker, here is another gem from, I think, John Brumby. He said:
Labor believes a Government which has nothing to hide has nothing to fear from an independent Auditor-General.
Mr Speaker, this side of the house has nothing to fear. It is an unusual scenario when it is the Opposition who fears the Auditor-General.
MR KAINE: I am glad that the crossbenchers are recognised in the hurly-burly. Yesterday I asked the Chief Minister a question about the source of her advice in connection with the franchising of water. Just to refresh her mind, in response she said the advice came from ABN AMRO and also from an officer of her department who had visited a number of local bodies in France, and from companies that have been involved in this area for a long time. The Chief Minister's stated option, of course, differs significantly from the recommendation from ABN AMRO because they recommended a concession which they define on page 129 of their report as being an operation in which the assets remain the property of the ACT Government. What we have got is not what was recommended by ABN AMRO. We have something described as a franchise, which is nowhere to be found. So that we can be informed on the thought processes that led to the adoption of a franchise rather than the concession as defined by ABN AMRO, will the Chief Minister first of all table the report from the officer, who must have submitted a written report when he came back from his visit, table the advice from the companies which have been involved in this area for a long time, and, in particular, will she advise us of the names of those companies?