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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 3735..


MS MacDONALD (continuing):

that they do not support the democratic rights of Canberrans. It is an indictment on their party and reflects their contempt for the democratic rights of all Canberrans.

Opposition members interjecting—

MS MacDONALD: I wonder that those opposite can expect themselves to be taken seriously by the electorate. They belittle themselves and demean the Assembly with these views. For too long federal members have spoken about Canberra with contempt and condescension. The federal Liberal Party's newest recruit, Senator Julian McGuaran, now a Liberal senator for Victoria—

Mr Mulcahy: And a good one.

MS MacDONALD: Yes. He is a real bright spark. He took this disdain one step further by stating during the debate, when he said:

In the ACT they live a very comfortable life—some would say even a tattslotto lifestyle. And they would be very loath to separate themselves from mother's milk. When they look up from their homes in Forest or wherever and see the parliament on the hill, they feel very comfortable. They feel very comfortable that the federal government, sitting on the hill looking down on their most junior of parliaments, as a last resort, have the authority to override—let alone the prestige that they see in us all. I do not single myself out. I stress that.

These are outrageous comments. I trust that those opposite do not concur. Certainly I am glad he is not a member of the Labor Party, I would say, because he is a real bright spark.

Only the members of the Assembly can claim a legitimate mandate to represent the views of the people of the territory. The commonwealth executive—or, for that matter, the unelected Governor-General—cannot pretend to represent the views of the territory. We—every member sitting in this place today—represent the views of the people of the ACT. I urge all members to support this motion.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (11.00): Mr Speaker, I think we need to get this motion in perspective. I will be circulating an amendment which I will speak to as well. The self-government act came into being in 1988, during the period of the Hawke government. Clyde Holding had a lot to do with it. Paul Whalan had a bit to do with it. I see his handiwork in one area of section 44. It was very much a creature of the Labor Party, the Hawke government, and was supported, might I say, by the Liberal and National parties, the Democrats and the Greens, because the commonwealth government wanted to ensure that they did not have to pay for the ACT. They were putting the ACT in a financial straitjacket from about 1985-86 onwards, weaning us off mother's milk, to use a term Ms MacDonald used. Self-government was all about saving money.

Continuing the history lesson, if the federal government had really wanted to intervene, it probably had some very good reasons to do so in the First Assembly. We were worse than the Italian parliament. We had, I think, three governments, five different groupings, people who wanted to abolish the place, and a minister—a good mate of mine, actually, Craig Duby—who was a bit of an opportunist. Craig became a


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