Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3061 ..
down the path of legislation, we would have to think even more carefully about how we constructed that legislation. Community views on this are diverse, and we are talking about a very serious matter. But the bottom line is that what happened last night meant that we will not be having that discussion in any substantive way. I am deeply disappointed about that.
I am, as has been discussed, disappointed with the position taken by Senator Seselja, a senator for the ACT. In a vote that was resolved 36 to 34, every vote mattered. To have a situation where a senator for the ACT did not support our right to have these restrictions removed is particularly disappointing. It is in stark contrast to the Northern Territory, as the Chief Minister has touched on. I have no doubt that there are differences of view in the Northern Territory, but the parliamentarians there have united in their support for territory rights.
It is also in stark contrast to a former senator for the ACT, Gary Humphries, who has in the past, despite his personal views on the specific issue, voted for territory rights. Over the years Gary Humphries has been very strong in his views about the Greens—he is no friend of ours—but in the past he has demonstrated the ability to sit down, think about the issues carefully and recognise the greater issue that is at stake, despite his personal difference of opinion.
I am grateful to our Senate colleagues. All nine Greens senators voted in support of this bill last night. Again, it demonstrates—it was Senator Leyonhjelm who brought this bill forward and we know the recent history between Senator Leyonhjelm and some of our colleagues—that you have to stop and take the issue on its merits, despite who brings the bill forward or perhaps sometimes what your personal views may be on these things. I know that we are the only party that unanimously voted in support of the legislation last night, and I very much thank our senators from various jurisdictions around the country for supporting the push here.
Much more will be written and said about this, but I think I can best conclude by quoting the words of Ms Le Couteur in comments that she typed out last night:
While bowed, we remain undeterred. The fight to restore territory rights will continue.
That is certainly a sentiment that we take forward. We are disappointed, but this is not the end of the road. There will come a time when the Australian parliament will realise the error of its ways and restore the territories’ rights to debate these issues. I very much look forward to that day.
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (11.46): I am pleased to speak to the motion circulated by Mr Barr today. I believe that the right of the territory to determine its legislation—its own legislation—is important and is paramount to the citizens of the ACT. I think that most people in the ACT would expect that their elected Assembly representatives would have the right to determine laws in all areas of our life. It is not just roads, rates and rubbish. It is not just health, education and our legal system. It should be across all areas of our life.