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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 1790 ..

MR OSBORNE (12.10): I move as an amendment to Mr Humphries's amendment:

Proposed new clause 6A, paragraph (a), after "and" add "/or".

It appears to me that, although Mr Whitecross tried very hard to convince us otherwise - he nearly did; it was a very good speech - he is more than anything about the Labor Party's republican push. It seems that once again we are faced with deciding between the two major parties' ideologies. We have the Liberal Party clinging to the royal family and the Queen and years of tradition, which I do not think is bad. We also have the Labor Party running their republican line, which is probably the way I lean now. However, my mind is not yet made up. My amendment will allow all future members to do just as they wish and to swear allegiance to the Queen, the people of the ACT or both.

Mr De Domenico: A conscience vote.

MR OSBORNE: A conscience vote. I remember a debate we had earlier in the year on the prayer.

Mr Moore: How did you stand there?

MR OSBORNE: I just sat, actually. The opponents of the prayer used the words "inclusion" and "tolerance". My motion includes all options and tolerates both sides of the republican debate. I do not feel that pre-empting an issue that is well and truly on the national agenda is prudent. On an issue such as this, which when you look at it does not have a great effect on the people of Canberra, members should be allowed to vote whichever way they feel that they should. By accepting my amendment to Mr Humphries's amendment, the Labor Party can swear allegiance to whomever they wish, as can the Liberal Party, the Independents, the Greens, or anyone else who gets elected to this place.

MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (12.13): Mr Speaker, I will be supporting Mr Osborne's amendment but opposing Mr Humphries's. The difficulty with Mr Humphries's amendment is that it does specify that members still must swear allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs and successors. As I have been at great pains to spell out throughout this debate, I have an objection to that both on the grounds of the constitution of the ACT and on the grounds of relevance of the office of the Queen to this Assembly. I think it is more appropriate, as Mr Osborne has said, to provide some alternatives; but, ideally, I do not believe that there ought to be an alternative for members of this Assembly not to express their allegiance to the people of the ACT. However, I understand what Mr Osborne was getting at there, and I think it would be a very strange newly elected member of the Assembly who would choose to swear allegiance only to the Queen and not to the people. I cannot imagine that circumstance arising, so I would therefore support Mr Osborne's amendment.

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