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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (2 February) . . Page.. 33 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the most important flaw and problem with this report, which is absolutely damning, is its lack of an alternative. We expected when this committee was established in December that it would examine the Government's proposals, and Mr Rugendyke and Mr Osborne in particular had these issues very squarely on the table. I think if they go back to the Hansard they will see that they said - I would be grateful if Mr Rugendyke would listen to these comments - "This is the chance for the Labor Party to put up or shut up on superannuation". Where in this report does it do so? He does a great hatchet job on the Government's proposals - - -

Mr Kaine: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I think, as a member of this Assembly, I am entitled to challenge that presumption put forward by the Minister that this committee is somehow speaking for the Labor Party. The committee was established by this Assembly, with multipartisan membership, and to suggest that it should somehow represent the Labor Party's view, I think, is totally in error.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you. There is no point of order. Proceed, Minister.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I repeat: It was the chance for the committee to receive the Labor Party's alternative proposal for funding the superannuation liability of the Territory. That was said expressly on several occasions in this place in December, and when we look at this report we do not see that there. (Extension of time granted) What we see here very clearly is an attack on the Government's proposals from all sorts of, I think, fairly scrappy material. Fair enough; you do not like the Government's proposals. There are weaknesses in it. We would be the first to acknowledge that. There are things about this proposal which are not particularly attractive. But the point is - and this is the point we have made from the very first day of this debate - that the alternatives are not particularly attractive either. When you focus on what would be the alternative to this, you come quickly to the conclusion that the sale of a major asset to protect the value of that asset by converting it to other assets which attract higher returns to the Government is a better way of protecting the Territory's future in terms of the superannuation liability.

Mr Kaine: That is one view.

MR HUMPHRIES: Well, Mr Speaker, I ask members to look at the cover of this report: "Select Committee on the Territory's Superannuation Commitments". This is not a report about the Territory's superannuation commitments; this is a report - - -

Mr Kaine: Rubbish!

MR HUMPHRIES: No, Mr Kaine; this is a report about one proposal which has been put forward by the ACT Government for addressing the superannuation commitments; namely, the sale of ACTEW. It does not address the alternatives, except in the most cursory way. Look at recommendation 9. This is where I expected, reading this report, I would find the alternative, the proposal put forward by the Opposition, by the Labor Party; what they would do. Instead, I find four very loose, inconclusive criteria.

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