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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3084 ..

Suspension of Standing Orders

Motion (by Mr Humphries) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent the adjournment debate from extending beyond the 30-minute time limit.


Motion (by Mr Humphries) negatived:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.


Debate resumed from 23 November 1995, on motion by Mr Humphries:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR CONNOLLY (5.11): As I took the public running on this issue early in June, I can say that it will be the Labor Party opposing the Bill but our leader will be addressing remarks to the chamber.

MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (5.11): I would like to say at the outset that I am indebted to Mr Todd Foreman for his research on this speech. He is a visiting United States resident. He is visiting here on an undergraduate scholarship. He is very much aware of the experience in the United States. He was also recently in New Zealand during the first referendum that was held in that country.

Mr Speaker, it will not be a surprise to members that I am rising today to speak against the Community Referendum Bill 1995. It is my view that the ACT is already well served by its existing system of representative democracy. The Community Referendum Bill would not strengthen democracy in the ACT; rather, it would put more power into the hands of pressure groups, extremists and power elites and reduce the influence of the average citizen on the legislative process. Our system of representative democracy is a sound one. Candidates campaign on a platform of ideas which they pledge to implement if they are elected. If they do not keep their promises or voters disapprove of their performance in office, voters can vote them out at the next election. Within this system of representative democracy, the average citizen already has the ability to influence legislation. We have seen that happen time and time again in this place.

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