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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1162 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

I have been advised by ACTEW that it has not signed any new contract with further clients as a result of Mr Berry's letter, not even the ACTU. I just cannot imagine what Mr Berry was talking about on Prime Television.

Mr Moore: What is his influence with the comrades?

MS CARNELL: Very little, obviously. ACTEW has advised that, while it would always welcome back any former customers, it was extremely unlikely as they had almost definitely negotiated long-term contracts with new suppliers and, of course, were enjoying their new lower electricity prices. So, in simple terms, nobody has returned to ACTEW. Nobody. Why not, Mr Speaker? Well, I would have thought it would have been obvious to everybody except possibly the Labor Party. Businesses have left ACTEW because they have been able to buy their power far more cheaply interstate. It is as simple as that. Mr Berry obviously thinks I am biased and that I have a one-track mind, I suppose, on this sort of thing. Maybe it would be appropriate to quote from another source that might interest him, and that is the Canberra Times.

Mr Humphries: The Canberra Times?

MS CARNELL: That is right. It is not the Canberra Times anymore, is it? It is our local newspaper known as "the pseudo lefties, the wine and cheese night pinko lefties at the Canberra Times". Anyway, here is what part of the pseudo pinko lefties' editorial had to say last weekend, Mr Speaker.

Mr Stanhope: Yes, that the private sector can do it better. Where did that crap come from?

MS CARNELL: I think you are an expert on that exact thing, Mr Stanhope. Mr Speaker, I quote from that editorial:

We now have the pitiful sight of Labor's employment spokesman Wayne Berry writing to 74 ACT organisations which have signed with interstate electricity providers pleading with them to return to ACTEW. He argues that, as good corporate citizens operating in the ACT, they should support ACTEW and help save jobs in the Territory.

This is putting it the wrong way around on two counts. First, ACTEW should be freed of the constraints of public ownership so it can compete effectively and maintain ACT employment. Secondly, businesses operating in the ACT should ensure they get all their business inputs as cheaply as possible so they remain competitive, in business and employing - - -

Mr Berry: Kate, have you not worked out you lost? It is no good struggling. It is like a fish on a hook. They just struggle right to the end.

MR SPEAKER: Order! If I cannot hear the answer I will have to have it repeated.

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I quote:

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