QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
TOTALIZATOR AGENCY BOARD SHARE ALLOCATION
Mr COLLINS: Given that the Totalizator Agency Board sale was supposed to be a mums and dads float, how does the Premier explain the fact that when the company listed yesterday 10 of the top 20 shareholders were foreign-owned companies? How does he justify these companies getting up to nine million shares each when small investors had to settle for just 257, stripping them of any short-term profit?
[Interruption from gallery]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Members of the public in the gallery will refrain from clapping and remain silent.
Mr CARR: In case the House is wondering why the Leader of the Opposition missed all the favourable publicity about the TAB float, the answer is provided by the front page of the Western Advocate.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Georges River to order.
Mr CARR: It shows the Leader of the Opposition at a conference of bush fire fighters on the public platform sound asleep next to the member for Bathurst. The member for Bathurst ought to be congratulated on having an advertisement run in today’s Western Advocate showing the alert member for Bathurst next to the sleeping Leader of the Opposition with this caption, "Sleep well, your State member is awake." I am happy to lay the document on the table for the information of members.
Mr Hartcher: On a point of order. For four years now we have had innumerable rulings from
you - all blatantly defied by the Premier - that while he has the right to table documents he does not have the right to wave them around, to the jeers of people in the public gallery, who have already formed their opinion of him.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I do not uphold the point of order.
Mr CARR: In answering this question I have a wonderful opportunity to compare how the coalition handled the GIO float when the Leader of the Opposition was in charge of matters with how this Government has handled the TAB float. It will expose him as the hypocrite that he is.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition has asked a question. He will listen to the answer in silence.
Mr CARR: He handled the GIO float.
Mr Collins: On a point of order. The Premier is lying and he knows he is lying. I was not the Treasurer; I did not sell the GIO.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! No point of order is involved. The Premier is answering the first question in question time and a number of members have already been called to order. The House will come to order. The next member to be called to order will be deemed to be on three calls.
Mr CARR: The Leader of the Opposition is saying that we floated the GIO. He is saying that is our responsibility, is he? That is an extraordinary proposition. I thought a coalition government floated the GIO. In any event, I will draw a contrast. In today’s Daily Telegraph financial commentator Terry McCrann hailed the float of the TAB as a very impressive "people’s privatisation". So it is.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I place the Deputy Leader of the Opposition on three calls to order.
Mr CARR: From the outset the Government gave ordinary investors every chance to buy TAB shares. It said to every one of the 1.3 million people who requested a share offer document, "If you apply for shares you will get some." More than 750,000 people took up that offer. It is Australia’s most popular float. I ask members to compare it with the way the Liberals in Victoria handled the float of that State’s TAB. In this State 750,000 people took up the share offer. How many did so in Victoria? A mere 44,000! That is the way Victoria handles things. How many invested in the GIO, the coalition’s opportunity to undertake a float? In the GIO float, which the coalition was in charge of, which the Leader of the Opposition was in charge of, a mere 127,000 took up the share offer.
Mrs Skinner: On a point of order. My point of order relates to Standing Order 138, which deals with relevance. This is a question about the top 10 shareholders and nine million shares.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! No point of order is involved.
Mr CARR: What a joke! For the first time ever larger investors, those who received shares through their stockbrokers’ allocations, paid extra for those shares. That was an innovation for which the Government is responsible. Ordinary investors paid $2.05 per share, large investors paid $2.10. The Leader of the Opposition claims foreign companies should be excluded.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Northcott to order.
Mr CARR: That is not what happened when the Leader of the Opposition was in charge of the GIO float. Foreign companies had entree. Why is the Leader of the Opposition so sensitive?
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition knows the procedure that is available to him if he does not agree with what the Premier is saying. At the conclusion of question time the Chair will give the Leader of the Opposition unlimited time to refute the Premier’s remarks. In the meantime, I appeal to the Leader of the Opposition to remain silent while the Premier is answering the question.
Mr CARR: The Leader of the Opposition claims that the Deputy Leader of the National Party was in charge of the GIO privatisation. That could not be! He was the bloke who lost $50 million on Luna Park. They could not have put him in charge of the GIO privatisation; he was too busy with Luna Park. The basic guideline for the TAB float is that companies are restricted to no more than 5 per cent. The figures are now in and they show where the small investors come from. They are not only from the traditional share-owning areas of the northern and eastern suburbs of Sydney.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I place the honourable member for Ermington on three calls to order.
Mr CARR: Let me take this head on. Nearly 20 per cent of the people in the Canterbury electorate bought shares in the TAB. In Parramatta,
18 per cent of the people have bought shares in the TAB. I will take another area at random. In Auburn 16 per cent of the people have bought shares in the TAB.
The honourable member for Gordon interjects as he slides closer to the crossbenches. He is the only person running in a preselection ballot for a lower House electorate to say, "If I lose, I demand a seat in the Legislative Council." What an interesting preselection platform! The figures show that in East Hills, 12 per cent bought TAB shares; in Wagga Wagga, Smithfield and Bankstown, 11 per cent have bought shares; 10 per cent in Dubbo, Bathurst, Keira and Riverstone; 9 per cent in Badgerys Creek and Penrith. It is no wonder that Terry McCrann says this is a people’s privatisation. Under the GIO float, which someone in the coalition was in charge of - they have not worked out who yet - things were shut down on the second day of the public offer, leaving tens of thousands of policyholders without a chance to buy shares. The Government, however, in this float provided shares for everybody who wanted them. In an article in one of today’s newspapers, the Leader of the Opposition is quoted as saying:
I wonder if the Deputy Leader of the National Party agrees if he, as is rumoured, was in charge of the GIO float, because he and the coalition allocated exactly the same proportion of GIO shares to institutional investors as happened in respect of the TAB float. In both cases 65 per cent of shares went to public investors. The newspaper article today referred to the comments of the Leader of the Opposition in regard to the cost of advertising.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Deputy Leader of the National Party to order.
Mr CARR: Let me draw a contrast between the advertising for the GIO float and the advertising for the TAB float.
Mr Collins: Tell us about the State Bank while you’re at it. You spent 20 times what we spent.
Mr CARR: That is funny, because I have the figures.
Mr Collins: You spent 20 times what we spent on the State Bank.
Mr CARR: Twenty times what you spent! I have the figures. Only $1.3 million will be spent on TAB float advertising, compared with $7 million on the GIO float. That is the contrast.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Davidson to order. I call the Deputy Leader of the National Party to order for the second time.
Mr CARR: Despite the lack of hype there was a huge response to the float of the TAB.
Mr Photios: On a point of order. The question does not relate to advertising dollars; it relates to why mums, dads and grandmas missed out.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! No point of order is involved.
If this had been a fair dinkum mums and dads float, the percentage going to ordinary investors would have been far higher.