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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 3988..


MS DUNDAS (continuing):

committee inquiry recommendations. The argument for an extension of term in relation to committee reports is, I believe, a red herring.

I take issue with the idea that the turnover of members in this Assembly is some sort of problem that needs to be rectified. If every member was always re-elected, this would be a very strange form of democracy. The whole point of an electoral system is to have some sort of changeover in the membership of the Assembly, or at least to have the opportunity for that changeover. This is how members of parliaments change, this is how governments change and it is how policy changes. Our electoral system is designed to allow the people of Canberra to choose who they want to represent them. The fact that the membership changes from Assembly to Assembly is a strength, not a weakness, and it is often said that we get the governments that we deserve.

The worst part of this proposal is that it once again lowers the respect for Assembly members in the eyes of the community. This proposal reinforces all the prejudices of the community about politicians simply acting in their own interests and protecting their own positions of power in contempt of the wishes of the people. I believe, and the ACT Democrats believe, that this proposal is essentially antidemocratic, and I call on members of the Assembly to oppose it. I thank Ms Tucker, as a member of the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs, for putting in a dissenting report and I hope that members of the Assembly will carefully consider what it is they would be doing by increasing the length of the term of this Assembly to four years.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Statute Law Amendment Bill 2003 (No 2)

Mr Wood , on behalf of Mr Stanhope , presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by clerk.

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Arts and Heritage) (11.17): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill makes statute law revision amendments to ACT legislation under guidelines for the technical amendments program approved by the government. The bill makes amendments that are minor or technical and are non-controversial. They are sufficiently important to justify the presentation of separate legislation in each case and are inappropriate to make as editorial amendments in the process of republishing legislation under the Legislation Act 2001.

However, the bill serves the important purpose of improving the overall quality of the ACT statute book so that our laws are kept up to date and are easier to find, read and understand. A well-maintained statute book significantly enhances access to ACT legislation and it is a very practical measure to give effect to the principle that members of the community have a right to know the laws that they are required to uphold and obey.


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