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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 1103..


MS DUNDAS (continuing):

I am happy to debate our symbols and what they mean to our society but there is a process that needs to occur through consultation and debate with the people of Canberra if the government wishes to change those symbols. It was the last Labor government who opened up debate on the ACT flag. However, the people of Canberra seem to be quite happy with the present one. Equally, if we want to change the symbol of government in the ACT, we should have that debate with the people of Canberra. After all, it is their government. The decision should not be made by some marketing company. So if the official symbols of Canberra are to be changed, let us have that debate.

Some people would prefer something different to the present coat of arms. There are concerns about its link to the British monarch. It is quite a stark symbol, but change shouldn't happen just through a disallowable regulation. The coat of arms has a history and a symbolic meaning about Canberra's place as the nation's capital. It has cultural meaning and reflects some of our heritage. I do not want to see it replaced by some corporate-style logo that means nothing and is simply designed to project a positive image of the Labor government, especially without debate within the community.

So I repeat that I am not happy with the government trying to add that a government document be recognised by the presence of the phrase "Building our city, building our community". It is quite a disturbing trend that we're seeing from the government and I hope the Assembly will support this disallowance today. If the government is serious about changing the symbols of our government, it should have that debate with the community and not use some underhanded regulation changes to try to allow a slogan to become something of a government trademark.

MS TUCKER (4.43): The electoral amendment regulation that we're debating would mean that the current government could use the "Building our city, building our Community"logo on material that can appear to be electoral material without requiring an electoral authorisation statement. In other words, it would become an official ACT government logo. It is fair to say that while the "Building our city, building our community"logo is owned by the ACT government, it has become and is designed to be associated with the programs and policy platform of the current Stanhope Labor government. Making the program of this present government synonymous with the territory government more generally is to blur the line between the institution of government and the government of the day.

I understand that if Mr Stefaniak's disallowance motion is successful the logo could still be used on government documents if the ACT crest is on the documents and not require any authorisation in any form. So I cannot see that it is too much of an imposition. I also understand that as the logo is the property of the ACT government it cannot be used on party political material. If we succeed in disallowing this law, while the logo would still be stamped on government documents, it would be clear that it is a document of its time and reflecting this government's program, and that should not be such a bad thing for the Labor Party. However, it will not reinforce the political notion that this Labor Party is synonymous with government overall. So I will be supporting the disallowance.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (4.45): As Mr Stefaniak outlined quite clearly, this is a very disturbing thing that the government is attempting to achieve today through these regulations. We want to stop the growing arrogance with which, through the use of


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