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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 6 Hansard (11 May) . . Page.. 1583 ..

Tuesday, 11 May 1999


MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair at 10.00 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.



MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (10.01): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes that today, 11 May 1999, marks the 10th Anniversary of Self-Government for the Australian Capital Territory;

(2) expresses its appreciation for the work of former Members of the Legislative Assembly and its preceding bodies and the community associated with achieving democratic government for the Territory; and

(3) acknowledges the responsibilities of this and future Assemblies in ensuring strong, democratic and responsible government for the people of the Territory.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you today for the ceremonial sitting of the Legislative Assembly to mark the tenth anniversary of self-government in the ACT. This is an appropriate time to reflect on the past 10 years and to consider what we have learnt from that experience which might guide us for the future.

We recall that, 10 years ago, there were many in the Canberra community who did not think self-government would last and probably even more who thought we should not have had it at all. They resented the fact that the Federal Government had imposed self-government on the people of the ACT with little consideration of our wishes. The reservations of the people of Canberra perhaps seemed justified in light of the first Assembly election in March 1989, when we were handed an unworkable electoral system by the Commonwealth Government. Under the modified d'Hondt system we had an incredible 117 candidates vying for 17 seats in the new Assembly, resulting in a very famous ballot paper that is on the walls of many people in this Assembly. It was approximately a metre wide. Until the recent New South Wales Legislative Council ballot paper, it held a certain position in history. The ballot paper for the New South Wales upper house has now taken over that unenviable position.

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