Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 6 Hansard (11 May) . . Page.. 1588 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
Fraser. Those names have tended to become a bit obscured by time, but we should not allow them to be, because those people were the forerunners of those who sit here today, and there is no doubt that they made a great contribution.
Later in 1984 the Legislative Assembly was called the House of Assembly, in recognition that it was never going to become a legislative body, and there were more people on the scene. We saw people like Maurene Horder, David Adams, Sue Craven, Paul Whalan, Rosemary Follett and many others. Again, some of those names seem to have faded into history and many of us in this place do not even remember now who they were. But they all had a vision and they sought to achieve it, and that vision was a better Canberra in which to live. You hear those words often today, don't you? But they were not invented in the 10-year life of this place. They were in the minds of people a long time before. Many of those people made significant contributions in their time to the body that exists here today.
Then in 1986 the dream seemed to die. The House of Assembly, as it then was, simply dissolved. But it is noteworthy that those precedent bodies worked in much the same way that this one does. There were some differences. They were part-time bodies and they met at night, but they had a committee system very similar to what we now have. For their time, the institutions worked. But at the end of the day nothing happened unless it was approved by a Federal Minister.
The earlier bodies met in this very building. The chamber was where the committee secretariat now lives, behind you, Mr Speaker. The President's office, once occupied by Mr Hird, was in the general area of committee room 2. The real engine room of power was where committee room 1 now sits. It was called the Tinny Club, something that this Assembly lacks, more is the pity, because that is where very often the real debate took place. The Assembly met late, it sat late, and after the Assembly sitting finished we would adjourn to the Tinny Club and many a hot debate took place there. I think this place would be the better for having a similar institution.
Then in 1989 the dream was revived. This institution came into being, and from those early days there are more names to remember: Bernard Collaery, Ellnor Grassby, Norm Jensen, Craig Duby, David Prowse, Hector Kinloch and many others. Some have been unfairly denigrated. Some were denigrated then and some are still denigrated today. I think that is quite unfair, because they all made their contributions as they saw them. Many of their contributions were more significant than those of some who followed them. Their work, in my view, should not be forgotten and allowed to fade into obscurity. On this tenth, or twenty-fifth, anniversary, depending on your point of view, their contributions ought to be acknowledged in all fairness.
At such a time as this we need also to remind ourselves that government is about people. It is not about economics; it is not about money. We tend sometimes to forget that. There is many a community group out there that would attest to that. Good government is with the consent of the people. It is not imposed by people in this place. Government should not be in conflict with the people. Government is not about us. We sometimes think this is the centre of the world and this is where government is. Government is not about us; it is about them. I believe that very often we forget that.