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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 2735 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

bringing the members of the Legislative Assembly along with you if this is such a great move? You would be expecting our support if it is such a great move, but you did not consult at all.

The other main argument that has been put here today is that Mrs Carnell, as Chief Minister, has the right under self-government to make these sorts of administrative changes. Well, of course she has the right. I hate to be using the cliche but we often link responsibilities with rights. The responsibilities that the ACT community feel lie with the Chief Minister and the Government are that they work in sympathy and consistently with their stated public aims and policies. They have failed to do this, absolutely. The Chief Minister has a responsibility, not only a right. The Chief Minister has a responsibility to consult with the community. She produced a consultation protocol with great fanfare. It is not being used. Let me read the very first section about when it is useful to consult. It says:

... the issue directly affects a significant group in the community.

Our officers have obviously had communication from a significant group in the community. The protocol continues:

a significant number of people, or particular groups, are likely to have strong views on the issue.

Obviously they do. I quote:

It is equally important not to leave consulting until so late in the process that citizens' views cannot influence the outcome.

Obviously that is a problem, although Mr Humphries did say it could be changed after six months. We are not sure now whether he said that. He seems to be saying he did not say it, but if he did say that then okay, maybe it can influence the outcome. It seems a very inefficient way of running government if you are going to move something for six months and then move it back just because a committee says so. Actually the Government would not listen to the Assembly when they make a clear direction. Here is another quote from the consultation protocol:

If the issue for consultation is particularly controversial, it may be necessary to consider a possible Assembly Committee Inquiry in the timeline for the consultation.

Obviously it is controversial. There has been so much community concern expressed. There is a responsibility also for the Government to not just say it is committed to reconciliation. There is a responsibility that comes with the right to govern to be true to the words of statements about reconciliation. This document says clearly that there needs to be an ability for the Aboriginal and indigenous community to participate in decisions which will affect them.

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