Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1431..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
out a constituent. So it is a system that I think has served Canberra well. It is a system which about two-thirds of the Canberra citizens wanted to have.
We have a really good system of democracy here which fits the needs of the ACT people—and you tinker with it at your peril. When you do some substantial tinkering, such as you are doing here, you are, in fact, altering the very great benefits of that system. You do not, and you should not, put up self-serving amendments which help only one party or one small group of people who might want to stand for the Assembly.
The Chief Minister has mouthed platitudes in recent times, saying that he looks forward to as many people standing as possible; that it is a democracy and the beauty of democracy is that the Assembly is open for anyone who wants to stand. Yes, that is so, but those words become somewhat hypocritical when you try to change acts and try to restrict that very democracy by self-serving amendments in terms of such things as fundraising, the more technical aspects and more easily understood and fundamental changes such as making it impossible for like-minded independents to be in one group on the ballot paper.
Those types of amendments, which you seek to push here, do no-one justice, are self-serving, are probably very misguided and may well backfire on you as well. They do nothing to advance the cause of democracy or the system of self-government here which, although we have only been going for some 19 years, has, despite a lot of criticism, served this territory very well, often through very difficult times. We will be supporting in principle the bill because there is much in it we can support, but there are other elements that we cannot and never will support. Indeed, if they get through we will probably be looking to change them should we attain government.
I close by also stating that I feel this bill should only be devoted to the in principle stage and I recommend, given the extent of the recent government amendments, that perhaps a roundtable would be sensible so that we can then finalise this matter in June.
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 12.29 to 2.31 pm.
Questions without notice
MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. On 23 April, the federal housing minister Tanya Plibersek supported the housing affordability initiative that I recently announced. Minister Plibersek said: