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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (21 September) . . Page.. 3037..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The Leader of the Opposition takes this position in relation to non-support, non-advocacy or non-leadership in relation to the democratic rights of the people of the ACT by proudly announcing today, beating his breast, that he proposes to go to a meeting on the weekend to advocate forcefully for the commonwealth to intervene to overturn another democratically passed piece of law of the ACT. It is shameful.

Mr Pratt: Go, Philip. Save the people.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, you are a repeat interjector. Discontinue interjecting.

MR GENTLEMAN: I ask a supplementary question. Chief Minister, what is the significance of the self-government act 1988 to the governance of the Australian Capital Territory?

MR STANHOPE: The self-government act is, of course, our constitution. It is the most significant piece of legislation of direct relevance to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Has Mr Gentleman sought a legal opinion from the Chief Minister?

MR SPEAKER: I did not hear the question that way. Would you repeat the question?

MR GENTLEMAN: Mr Speaker, I asked the Chief Minister: what is the significance of the self-government act 1988 to the governance of the Australian Capital Territory?

MR SPEAKER: Thank you. There is no point of order.

MR STANHOPE: The question asked whether the self-government act is significant. The self-government act is significant to us. It is significant to the government and it is significant to the majority of the people in the Australian Capital Territory. But it loses its significance to the opposition and the Liberal Party in the territory and in this place when the exercise of their democratic rights by the people of the Australian Capital Territory does not quite meet the ideological position of the Liberal Party.

We see that in the callow and shameful position that the Liberal Party has taken in relation to the civil unions legislation and the now shameful proposal that Mr Stefaniak intends to take to a meeting of shadow attorneys-general this Saturday. He proposes to forcefully and vigorously plead with the commonwealth Attorney-General to overturn another piece of ACT legislation.

It is remarkable that the Leader of the Opposition of a jurisdiction in Australia would go to the commonwealth government and plead with the commonwealth government to overturn legislation that was passed as an expression of the will of the people who elected the government that passed that legislation. It is what a mandate is about. It is the fundamental and basic principle of democracy that the people elect the government to make laws on their behalf. We are seeing callow, placid obsequiousness to the federal government through both the civil unions legislation—

Mr Smyth: He is a bit touchy today.

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