Page 4121 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 October 1991

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amend the Bill to be quite specific about the types of situations. They may wish to amend it to make it apply to door-to-door activities only. Whatever amendments they seek, they should reflect the balance of the community viewpoint.

Our adult generation has a positive duty to protect children. That is the message of Children's Week and of the International Declaration of the Rights of the Child, to which we subscribe. If this law saves even one child from harm it will be worthwhile; it is unlikely that innocent people could possibly be punished under such a law. This is a law which is likely to lie on the statute books more as a matter of resolving constant debates in school parents and friends and citizens groups about whether a raffle should be conducted and whether younger primary age children should be involved in it. It is a common debate in school communities and there are often views expressed on both sides.

Passage of this law might provide a positive indication of the views of the legislature, if we do get to one, on this important issue. The legislature might be able to assist the community to set a benchmark for this type of activity to protect children. I do not for one moment suggest that the type of activity itself is improper. It may involve an effort in good conscience, for the good of the community, without sufficient thought as to the vulnerability of infants who become involved in lonely doorknocking activities. We doubt that a mere code of conduct or a publicity campaign will suffice, given the cultural depth of this practice in our community. It may be easier for this legislature to take the issue in hand and set a benchmark, if we can get adequate community reaction to the Bill.

I will not go any further, other than to commend this exposure Bill for community debate in the context of Children's Week and to remind all members that we need to take positive steps, and they can include new law-making, to extend protection for young children. As members are aware, this Bill is part of a package we have brought down in recent weeks dealing with the protection of children. I commend the Bill to the house.

Debate (on motion by Mr Connolly) adjourned.


MR PROWSE (10.51): Mr Deputy Speaker, I move:

That the Assembly is of the opinion that action be taken to prepare legislation to enable electors of the Territory to initiate referendums on proposed laws by petition signed by at least 5% of the total number of electors.

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