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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 6 Hansard (11 May) . . Page.. 1594 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

It is my hope that the evolution we have seen in the last 10 years of power outwards from the centre will be a process that reaches not only non-Executive politicians in this place but also ordinary citizens whose capacity to participate would be more than equal to their right.

Trailblazers we have certainly been in the last 10 years, from domestic relationships legislation to reforms to government financial transparency, from the regulation of prostitution to landmark discrimination laws. The ACT was the first jurisdiction to pass the new national gun laws, and it played a leading role in reconciliation with indigenous people by bring them to the Bar of the Assembly to describe their experiences and their feelings.

Certainly, Mr Speaker, we have made some mistakes in the last 10 years, but today it is worth stating emphatically that we have a great deal to be proud about. The last 10 years have been very rewarding. There is no doubt about that. Each of us, I am sure, has grown in those 10 years, even if we have only spent short periods of time in this place. For me, certainly self-government has been rewarding. I, for example, would not have met my wife had it not been through my involvement in politics and in the ACT's political scene.

Mr Speaker, I want to conclude by saying that we have a great chance to be a model of democratic effectiveness in this city. Certainly our system is more robust than people would have expected, observing the first day of self-government 10 years ago today. But just as change has been the hallmark of the last decade so also must change be the hallmark of the next decade. We must address the concerns of those who are still distrustful of self-government. As the Chief Minister said, with power comes responsibility - responsibility by those here who share power in a non-traditional sense with the Executive and also responsibility by those here to those out there. As Mr Kaine put it, government is with the consent of the people.

MR BERRY (10.47): I would first like to acknowledge all of those members who were in the First Assembly at the wish of their electors. I would also like to acknowledge those public servants who put a great deal of effort into preparing the ACT for self-government. Most of them have gone now. Nevertheless, they made a major contribution to the development of democracy in this place. I cannot proceed any further either without acknowledging for my own part, and I suspect for many other members who are here now and were here in the past, those loyal staff members who have worked until the midnight hours to do whatever they have had to do to support the development of politics, if you like, in this place and the things that we, from our different vantage points, have been trying to do for the people of the ACT.

I will avoid the temptation to trade upon the lingering antipathy for self-government or to appear forward thinking by abandoning the old and longstanding frameworks for parliamentary democracy in all the models of the Westminster parliamentary system that exist around the world. I will also avoid the temptation to criticise the adversarial nature of parliamentary democracy, to touch on a popular theme.

It is far better in the scheme of things for politicians to enter into a passionate competition of ideas than it is for the population to fight each other in the streets. I do

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