Page 75 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 12 February 1991

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Debate resumed from 18 October 1990, on motion by Mr Jensen:

That the Assembly takes note of the report.

MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (9.03): I am very pleased to be speaking on the report of the Select Committee on Self-Government. The report is some 10 months old now. It does not seem that long, but it was tabled in this place in April of last year. I am also pleased that on some of the major areas in this report there does appear to be a good deal of common ground between all of us, and I think that is a good sign indeed in the evolution of self-government. For example, the committee has recommended a number of matters which would have the effect of increasing this Assembly's control over its own destiny. That, of course, is something that my party fully supports.

I am pleased also to note that the Government, in responding to this report, has also adopted that approach; that if self-government is really to mean anything we ought indeed to have control over such fundamental issues as the size of the Assembly - how many members there are in relation to how many electors - the number of Ministers, our electoral system and so on. Self-government means this Assembly having control over those matters, and it does appear very much to be common ground that that should be the case. So I am happy to support that.

There is a particular recommendation in relation to the powers of this Assembly. I refer to recommendation 3, which recommends that this Assembly have control over the number of Ministers which may be appointed. I support - and I have always supported - the position that the Assembly should have its say and should have control over that decision. I am happy to say that that position has now also been taken by the Federal Government, and Mr Kaine has tabled those papers today.

But in relation to that there are two matters that really cannot go without comment. The first of those is that, in the case of this particular Government in this particular Assembly, the question of the number of Ministers is, to use Dr Kinloch's words, a political agenda. A deal was done between at least two parties in this Alliance - the Liberal Party and the Residents Rally. The price of getting rid of my Government was for the Residents Rally to get additional Ministers. That is, indeed, a political agenda. In fact, it has been spoken of publicly by members opposite. I do not see any reason why they would attempt to deny it at this stage. So there is a political edge to that recommendation, the principle of which I, of course, support.

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