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attend this Assembly. Mr Speaker, I find that an extremely retrograde step for the people of the Territory, who, as we all know only too well, are still coming to grips with the whole notion of self-government and of the presence of this parliament in their midst. I find Ms McRae's comment that this is the first Assembly in which all 17 members are committed to the good governance of the Territory very significant. This is the first Assembly where we have not had a bunch of hypocrites and frauds pretending that they were against self-government or were here to abolish self-government. This is the first time. This is our first real opportunity to present ourselves as a parliament of 17, all committed to the same objective, and to invite the community to form a partnership with us in the good governance of the Territory.
I would ask members to consider very carefully the step which they are contemplating here and to consider that we are now offered a new opportunity for this Assembly to present itself in a better light to the people of the Territory - to our electors. We have done a great deal in the past, and I am aware that the former Speaker was extremely active, in getting groups to attend the Assembly. I myself have had people attending on Tuesday nights - groups of people and people individually. Mr Speaker, if we are to forgo that opportunity for the community to take this kind of interest in our style of participatory democracy, then we are, I think, taking a backward step and a step which will not be easy to recover from at a later time. I think it is a nonsense to pretend that we can somehow get people into the Assembly on an ad hoc basis whenever we feel like sitting later. I put it to you that on this Government’s record it will not be too often that we will be sitting later. It will not be too often that we will be sitting at all.
So, Mr Speaker, I do think members need to consider this issue very carefully. I think Mr Moore is completely wrong. I know that he dislikes Tuesday night sittings. I know that Mr Moore at times disliked question time as well because he had another engagement at that time. Nevertheless, that is not an excuse for the whole Assembly to alter its pattern. I think we do have the opportunity now of involving our community in a way that has not been as possible in the past, and I urge members not to overlook that opportunity.
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (12.02): Mr Speaker, I find this debate a bit concerning because again this week the proposal from the Opposition is a no-change situation. It seems that the Opposition is unwilling to look at any change in this Assembly that may produce a more efficient running of this place or of the Territory as a whole. The approach we have taken, and the approach that Mr Moore has taken here, is to look at what has happened over the last six years. Over the last six years what has happened is that very few people have turned up on Tuesday nights. He has looked at that, as we have, and at how much it actually costs us to continue those Tuesday night sittings. We have looked at the sorts of things that I am sure all of us would be doing if we were not at Tuesday night sittings. For most of us that means being either in our offices or out at community functions. To assume for a moment that the only job we do as an Assembly is here in this place, I think, is a very narrow view of our jobs, and I suspect, if that is the case, that some people are highly overpaid.