Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 November 2010) . . Page.. 5621 ..
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Stanhope, thank you.
Mr Smyth: Four minutes, Chief Minister.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Ms Porter.
MS PORTER: Shall I continue? Thank you. We have an expanding population and increasing complexity of issues, yet we as a parliament are powerless to determine the size of our Assembly to deal with such issues. Perhaps the people of Canberra would be better served with an Assembly of 21 or 25.
Importantly, we need the power to make decisions as an Assembly based on our experience and knowledge of our community and the feedback we receive on these issues as part of our day-to-day work. The inquiries have been held, the committees have reported. Now is the time to act on the issue.
Mr Speaker, this motion supporting reform of the self-government act is one issue that I am sure the whole Assembly will agree to. We have delivered tripartisan support for it in the past. I bring forward the motion today to continue that momentum and to signal to those in another place of this heartfelt desire for change. It is a situation that continues to deny the Assembly and, of course, the people of the ACT, the ability to have democracy and certainly denies us an opportunity to truly represent the community. This cannot continue. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (8.38): This is indeed a very important motion and one that captures the very essence of the notion of self-government in the territory, and I thank Ms Porter for moving this motion today. I also thank Mr Stanhope for his strong advocacy on the issue and his support for Senator Brown’s bill, currently being debated in the Senate. I think it reflects just what a mature and developed democracy we are that so much attention has been given to the issue in this place and that members are prepared to put aside their political differences and address the issue of our rights as residents of the ACT to elect representatives to make decisions on our behalf, decisions on the same range of issues as occur in every other state parliament in the country. The Greens wholeheartedly support the motion today and we are very proud that we have been the ones driving the push in the commonwealth parliament for proper self-government.
As we all know, Senator Brown has tabled two bills that would address two of the concerns set out in this motion. About 18 months ago, for the 20th anniversary of the Assembly, I moved a motion and remonstrance on this issue. As amended, that motion called for a joint review of the self-government act and, despite the Chief Minister’s approaches to Prime Minister Rudd and taking up the issue with Prime Minister Gillard, it is very unfortunate that this has not yet occurred. In light of the ongoing debate in the Senate this week, it is timely to revisit this issue and reconfirm our commitment to proper self-government for the people of the ACT.
It was disappointing that the Liberal Party did not support my motion last year and I am hoping that today they have decided to support Ms Porter’s motion as it sends