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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3037 ..

Mr Hargreaves: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. I am not aware of the number of the relevant standing order, but I am sure you are. I go to the issue of relevance and brevity. I made no reference at all to anybody else's position in my question.

Mr Wood: And he cannot speak for the Labor Party.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, it has long been the practice in this place to comment on other parties' policies in the course of answering questions. You did it every time you rose in this place, Mr Wood, as did Mr Berry, so why shouldn't I? Yes, we have taken steps to-

Mr Hargreaves: Mr Speaker, are you going to rule on my point of order?


Mr Hargreaves: I did not hear the ruling.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Humphries is well aware of the relevance rule.

Mr Hargreaves: And the brevity one.


MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, the fact is that this community has an important asset in TransACT. I believe that it is deserving of support. This government is also, however, prepared to take steps to limit the liability and the risk associated with TransACT to the ACT taxpayer. That is why we made the decision not to be 100 per cent the owner of TransACT. We could have been a few years ago, but we decided not to do that. That was a responsible decision to take while at the same time being in a position to see TransACT continue to roll out its cabling in this city and to provide the services that it promises to this city.

Mr Speaker, I make these comments in the knowledge that I have been asked by the Finance and Public Administration Committee to make a statement in this place about the position of TransACT, which I have agreed to do. I have also agreed, at the request of the chairman of that committee, not to make the statement until next week. I am a bit confused about the position. Am I to honour my undertaking to Mr Quinlan and refrain from making a comment on this matter until next week or am I to make it today, tomorrow and the day after in dribs and drabs in answer to questions from members of the opposition?

Perhaps the opposition should consider its position. Firstly, do they want me to put all this information on the table today or next week and, secondly and perhaps more fundamentally, are they in favour of TransACT being invested in or not?

MR HARGREAVES: I have a supplementary question. Why was the Chief Minister only almost certain, not absolutely certain, that news of Actew's investment would become public before the election? What possible argument could there be for keeping it secret?

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