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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (4 August) . . Page.. 3386..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

A number of issues have arisen in relation to the single October election we have had to date, but I will come to the federal one first. This situation may not occur as frequently now that we are going to four-year terms: it is likely to arise only once every nine or 12 years, but we have been affected by federal elections and it looks like this will happen again. We could well be bumped if the federal government decides to go to an election on 16 October. Of course, if it goes one week earlier or one week later there would be the clutter of having two elections running simultaneously. There were some issues in relation to that last time around, when the elections were about three weeks apart.

Of more concern to a number of people I and my party have spoken to, on both sides of the political fence, is the fact that an October date is somewhat close to the territory school holidays and indeed somewhat close to other events such as football finals. Just like we found with February, it does not give optimum time for parties and candidates to put their positions forward.

Mr Quinlan: What about the spring racing carnival, Bill? Come on!

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Quinlan mentions the spring racing carnival. As I said when I started, Mr Quinlan, there is never, ever, any optimum time. Apart from the spring racing carnival the second Saturday in November is probably one of the best possible dates you could pick where there would be the least number of distractions that might prevent people from concentrating on the matter at hand, stop candidates and parties getting their messages across and hinder people from getting a reasonable chance-if they want it-to digest the information and then vote accordingly.

I think it is important that the more informed the electorate, the more they focus on issues and the better our democratic system. As I said, no date is a particularly good date. There is always going to be something wrong with any date but it is interesting that, when the founding fathers of territory self-government were deliberating in the 1980s, they picked this very date as the best possible one. As events transpired that did not occur for subsequent elections of this Assembly but I think it is important, now that we have experienced a few dates, to settle on that. I commend that date to members. I look forward to support in relation to it and will be talking to members further about that. It is a fairly simple but nonetheless important issue. I believe it would not take terribly long to finalise it in this Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Residential Property (Awareness of Asbestos) Amendment Bill 2004

Mrs Cross , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MRS CROSS (10.40): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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