Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 379..
MR HARGREAVES (11.50): Mr Speaker, I have listened to a lot of the arguments put forward, and there seems to be substantial agreement on both sides of this chamber about how we should process Mr Osborne's views. I would like to make just a couple of points, however. Much was made of the point of symbolism. The coats of arms are demonstrations of symbolism. It is important that we recognise that there needs to be a continuity of symbolism. Coats of arms themselves, in fact, provide a demonstration of the continuity of events down through the ages which have a bearing on a particular society. The same thing applies to the coat of arms here. We have the symbol of the House of Commons sitting smack on the top of it.
I would urge that we do not consider replacing one with another; but that we consider just how we are going to approach the melding together of these symbols to reflect our history and to reflect how we see the future.
Mr Moore: Like putting the Union Jack in the corner of the flag.
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Moore may very well scoff. I just heard him making impassioned pleas about these sorts of things. It is not a very impressive scoff, I must say.
The fact is that the symbolism of things like coats of arms and flags is very dear to people's hearts. Tampering with this sort of thing does not do justice to anybody. What I am urging people to do is to consider the consequences of swapping one thing for something else. I am not saying for a moment that we ought to just say, "Okay; the Commonwealth coat of arms is fine for this thing, and then we ought to have the ACT coat of arms for something else". We need to consider the appropriateness of it.
We need also to consider it in the context of where we are in history. We could be facing becoming a republic in the not too distant future. If that occurs - and I hope that it will - it will require a change to this coat of arms and it will require a change to quite a number of other symbols. So, perhaps we need to put a timeline on this sort of thing. Mr Speaker, we also need to recognise that the laws of the ACT for the time being derive from Federal legislation. The self-government Act is a piece of Federal legislation. As I understand it - and I am happy to be corrected by the Attorney-General - that means that the laws that are enacted in this place have their authority, their genesis, in Federal legislation. Having a coat of arms of that parliament is a recognition of that genesis.
So, I do not necessarily support its removal entirely. I do, however, strongly support any symbol which can be placed in our legislature and in the courts which promotes the uniqueness and the maturity of the people and the society within the ACT. I just caution about removing one and replacing it with another.