Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 1789 ..
I, A.B., swear that I will faithfully serve the people of the Australian Capital Territory as a member of the Legislative Assembly and discharge my responsibilities according to law: So help me God!
I, A.B., solemnly affirm that I will faithfully serve the people of the Australian Capital Territory as a member of the Legislative Assembly and discharge my responsibilities according to law.".
I think Ms Follett made a fairly significant comment when she referred to the question of other oaths and affirmations. She said that I was wrong to suggest that this was out of sync with other oaths and affirmations, and she cited a number of examples of oaths or affirmations that do not conform with this model. She cited officers, but did not actually say which ones they were. I can think of a number of officers in senior positions in the Territory who do swear such an oath or make such an affirmation - for example, officers of our courts, and not just judges or magistrates but also other officers in the courts. Ms Follett went on to refer to witnesses in courts and interpreters. I should point out that people who swear those oaths or make those affirmations are performing a different function. They are swearing to tell the truth in court proceedings or swearing to translate accurately the material they are being given. This is different. This is swearing to fulfil the duties of a statutory office, and that, I think, is very different. On that level, I do not think Ms Follett has produced any evidence at all that what she is suggesting we should do is the norm, or the rule, as she puts it. In fact, it is very much the exception to what is the existing rule.
I think it is a bit strange to suggest that people in other parliaments of this country have not thought about this issue. The republic debate has now been going on for about four years, and I would be very surprised if members had not thought about it, even in those States where the Labor Party controls the parliament, such as Queensland. There they could have made this change some years ago, but apparently they have not attempted even to think about doing so. I make clear one small point: Nobody in Australia swears allegiance at the present time to the King. The reference in the legislation is to the wording as it was put forward at the time the legislation was passed. Obviously, there are also words in those provisions to update the reference in the oath or affirmation to the monarch of the day. I table the explanatory memorandum to the amendments, Mr Speaker.