Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3091 ..
MR OSBORNE: I am stunned. We could have chaos if we all go down your path, Ms Horodny. We could change the government each year, with a different budget. Every time we did not get our own way, we could block the government. I think the last thing we need here is a new election. Mr Speaker, I will not be supporting this legislation.
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (5.40): Mr Speaker, I will be very brief. As has been said before, we were not ready to debate this issue today, but it is an issue that we have had on the agenda for a long period of time. I think it is very unfortunate and a very bad precedent to force anybody to bring on a Bill that they do not want to debate, but I think it is really indicative of what has happened with regard to CIR from the first time we brought it forward in this place. It was subjected to every single device that this Assembly could use to knock it off without getting any publicity that this Assembly did not want to give any power at all to the people. For example, it was given to a committee. We did not want to vote against it and we did not want to vote in favour of it, so we gave it to a committee. The committee made recommendations, we incorporated them in this legislation, we brought the legislation back on, and now those opposite are making a valiant attempt to knock off this important legislation in the dying moments of this Assembly before Christmas so that hopefully nobody in Canberra will know that they do not want to give any power at all back to the community. Publicity will be as limited as is possible.
We heard Ms Follett make the speech that she gave last year or the year before. It was the same stuff about the American situation. The American situation is simply different from Australia, because we have something called compulsory voting. Citizens-initiated referenda with compulsory voting means quite definitely that more than 50 per cent of the community have to support a particular approach. In America the turnout may be only 30 per cent, so you may need to get only 15 or 16 per cent of the community to support a particular approach, which means that, as with every other part of politics in America, money can buy CIR results. The whole American system is based upon buying votes. That is simply not the case in Australia.
This Assembly has no trouble with government-initiated referendums. It is all right if we want to have a referendum, but it is not all right if the community want to have one. That is a fascinating approach. We trust the community to make a decision on a referendum that we choose to have, but we do not trust them to make a decision on one that they might choose to have. That flies totally in the face of community consultation.
Ms McRae: What about petitions? What about letters? What about opinion polls? What about all the other input that you ignore? This is just rubbish.
MR SPEAKER: What about some shush while the Chief Minister is speaking?
MRS CARNELL: If more than 50 per cent of the community believe something should or should not happen, this Assembly is somehow saying that they really do not know what they are talking about. The fact is that we believe they do. It is true that we get petitions in this place. We got a lot of petitions and a lot of letters about the Kippax Health Centre. So what did we do?