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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (2 February) . . Page.. 10 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

Auditor-General and in previous ACT budgets. The timeframe for the Committee was definitely not an impediment to its task, given the amount of prior work done in this matter.

So you can imagine my surprise, Mr Speaker, having sat the day before in that meeting with Mr Hird where he wanted it recorded in the minutes that he did not think there was enough time for the committee to get this report done. Perhaps you should get your story right when you do come down, Mr Hird. Mr Speaker, often with these things we let them go through to the keeper; but, given the fact that the Chief Minister had threatened Mr Rugendyke with a breach of privilege over exactly the same issue, I feel that this is something that we need to discuss and expose Mr Hird for.

Mr Speaker, superannuation obviously is a very complex issue. The one pleasing thing for me is that finally the Assembly and the community are acknowledging the problem that we do have, given that I have been speaking about it for at least three years. Although the realisation of a problem is not a good one, I think this Assembly, the media and the public have acknowledged that there is an issue there and perhaps we could focus more attention on it.

Mr Speaker, this issue of superannuation has been quite a journey for me. I recall standing up here before Christmas being quite pessimistic about what the committee would come up with and saying that I did not believe that Mr Quinlan would be able to come up with any option. To his credit, and with the assistance of organisations such as the Australia Institute and the Australian Government Actuary, quite clearly there are many options that we need to consider. Obviously, with the timeframe, there is certainly room for some more work to be done on the superannuation problem. I do hope that the Government does, as Ms Tucker said, get over the disappointment on this issue and works with the Assembly on what future direction they take in relation to ACTEW and the superannuation liability.

I would like to thank and congratulate Mr Quinlan and his staff for the amount of work that they put in over Christmas. Quite clearly, the timeframe was very tight. I do not know who to blame for that, Mr Speaker, but there was only about six weeks. I am sure that with the resources and with the money that the Government has behind them they will be able to find some holes in the report; but, given the time and the resources, I think we have come up with something which is a way forward.

I would like, as Ms Tucker said, to thank the secretariat staff, Beth Irvin and Bill Symington, for the work they both put in over the Christmas break. I hope, Mr Speaker, that we can move forward on this issue. As I said, I am pleased that the problem has been acknowledged by more people than has been the case in the past.

MR HIRD (11.10): Mr Speaker, this report is a disgrace. It is the inevitable result of the appalling way the committee was conducted. The report is also an embarrassment to the Assembly because it represents an abuse of the committee system. There was a time when the committees of this Assembly attempted to be professional and reasonably objective in assessing issues. They saw their role as adding value to the Assembly's deliberations. They tried hard to reach a consensus wherever possible. They at least tried to come up with constructive ideas, but not this time.

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