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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (2 February) . . Page.. 13 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

The basic reason for selling ACTEW is to provide the best opportunities for business growth and jobs. When we have the opportunity, from the sale of ACTEW, to virtually wipe out our future liabilities and therefore free up funds for worthwhile projects, we should not, as a matter of conscience, refuse that opportunity. (Extension of time granted) I believe that future generations will judge us harshly if history shows that we have done the wrong thing by them.

What I find particularly regrettable is that our colleague Mr Paul Osborne, who was on our committee, knows the problems but lacks the courage to act. Indeed, in the 1997-98 budget debate, Mr Osborne expressed concern about the Territory's massive unfunded superannuation liability and the problems this creates for all of us. He went on to say that at some stage in the future someone in government is going to have to do something courageous, something to fix up the financial mess we are currently in. On his committee he had the chance to do something, but he has fallen at the first hurdle. He has failed the first test.

Because of the way the committee's processes were conducted and because I believe standing orders were broken, this is an invalid report. For the reasons outlined, the report of the select committee is most inaccurate and in places, either through neglect or willingness, seriously wrong and misleading. It should not be received by this parliament. It is not a report on which a decision should be made by this parliament. The matters of conduct I have raised concern questions of privilege. I therefore now formally ask you, Mr Speaker, to investigate the conduct of that select committee and report to the parliament.

In closing, Mr Speaker, I thank all members and all those who made contributions in such a short time to the committee. I thank my staff for their contribution in a difficult time over the Christmas and New Year break. I also thank the staff of the secretariat. I am saddened to have to rise in this place, after my years in public office and the many committees that I have been a party to, and say that I find this report and this committee wanting.

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a personal explanation.

MR SPEAKER: Order! One moment, please. Mr Hird has raised a matter with me in relation to privilege. My only comment is that standing order 71 requires any reference to the Speaker relating to privilege to be put in writing, Mr Hird.

Mr Hird: Thank you for the invitation.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Quinlan, do you want to make a personal explanation?

MR QUINLAN: I certainly do, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Leave is granted. Proceed.

Mr Humphries: That is done at the end of the debate, by convention, in this place.

MR QUINLAN: This debate may not end today.

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