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Wednesday, 13 August 2003
Page: 13574

Senator LUNDY (6:23 PM) —I think we really have flushed out the government very early on in this debate. I would like to take the minister to task about his claim that he could sell those assets anyway with the old act in place. Absolutely they could but what is changing here is something that is going from being on the register to not being on the register in the midst of the process of that asset going on the market. That is what is changing. We have a process of the sale of Commonwealth assets that is incredibly political. I do not think we should even begin the debate about what is fair value and how that process is being managed around the country, because it has been an absolute disgrace. What we have here is a system where we can see how the political influence starts to come into this decision making process.

I will persist in trying to extract from the government information that they obviously already have about the nature of this decision making and the subjective basis upon which these decisions about what is in and what is out actually occur to try to take it to the next level. The minister has nominated that around 500 sites are being transferred. Can the minister tell me specifically how many Commonwealth assets are on the current list so that I can get an idea of the proportion of the 500 sites that that actually represents? We will see if we can narrow it down a little further. We might get to the point of actually getting the names of the assets that are on the current list but will not be included on the new list and hence the ones that are going to miss out on that protection in the future. This can be a very slow, painful process, which will be a bit like pulling teeth, to get this information from the minister—very reminiscent I have to say of Senate estimates—or he could just provide the information up front that many senators around this chamber, including me, have requested.