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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 September 2018) . . Page.. 3719 ..


funds to a particular group is itself the act of appropriation. I do not think that this is the moment for this Assembly to try to analyse that.

I have suggested to colleagues outside in an earlier discussion that if we want to look into this more deeply we might refer this issue to the administration and procedure committee for either a consideration of the standing orders or, if there are concerns with the self-government act, how we engage the federal government in that. I think that is the more appropriate way.

What I can also say is that it is a bit academic. We are not intending to support Mr Parton’s amendment. Rather than perhaps stepping into uncertain territory, my view and the view of the Greens will be that if we want to prosecute the fine detail of this issue we do it in another way, which is to make a referral to the administration and procedure committee for a more considered discussion about this matter.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (4.31): Just to put it formally on the record, the government would not be supporting Mr Parton’s amendment either. Regardless of the procedural issues before the chair, Mr Parton’s amendment would not be successful today.

The broader issues that are being agitated would represent a fundamental change to the nature of governance in the territory and certainly should not just happen by accident on the floor of the chamber one Tuesday afternoon in September. That would be a pretty fundamental change to the way that this place operates.

Undoubtedly the first and obvious thing that I would have to do as Chief Minister and Treasurer would be to seek, were Mr Parton’s amendment to have been supported on the floor, urgent legal advice as to its compatibility with the self-government act. I do not have to do that—I acknowledge that there would not be a majority on the floor for that change—but that is the seriousness of the implication of what is proposed here.

We have a constitution that governs our operations. We may not all agree with elements of it. I, for example, would seek to remove the restriction on this parliament’s ability to legislate for end of life issues, for example. There would be plenty of people who would have liked this territory to have had the power to undertake a different policing arrangement over the decades. I am sure that there have been members who would have wanted change in that regard. We have what we have.

Mr Rattenbury is right in that if there is a desire to look to change the self-government act there is a process for that and it should be considered in that context. It would be appropriate, if members wish to pursue this matter in relation to non-executive members moving matters that relate to appropriations, that that be considered by the admin and procedure committee.

I can indicate now that I would not be supportive of a change in that regard. I think there is a fundamental principle of Westminster government and executive accountability that has this rule in place in our self-government act and in our standing orders for a very good reason.


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