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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3960 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

issue was resolved once and for all in favour of both the natural environment and a sustainable value-added timber industry, which is of course about employment as well as about the environment.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (11.10): We have just heard an unusual speech about something that we have absolutely no responsibility for or control over. The last time I checked, we were elected by the people of the ACT to set policy and to do the best we could for the people who vote for us. I also understood that democracy as practised in Australia at three levels of government - local, state and federal - meant that we elected people to represent us.

If the New South Wales Parliament wrote to this Assembly suggesting that we change a particular policy or go down a particular path inside the ACT, I ask everyone how they would react. Mr Quinlan, if the New South Wales Parliament wrote to the Assembly and suggested that we go down a particular path, what would we say? We would walk away because we would not want to deal with that situation. The reason we would not want to deal with it is that we all know what we would say. We would tell them exactly where to put their letter. It is not their responsibility to tell us how to run the ACT.

Similarly, it is not our responsibility to tell New South Wales how to run their State. The brochure that Ms Tucker pulled an awful lot of her speech from was put out by the South East Forest Alliance, and very appropriately. Guess what even the South East Forest Alliance says? It says:

What can you do to help? Contact your local council or your local member of parliament and encourage them to support the protection of the south-east forest.

I agree, but we are not their local council or their local members of parliament. We are another entity, elected by our people. The people in New South Wales have no input into our policy direction, nor should we into theirs. Even the South East Forest Alliance seems to understand that.

It is interesting that Ms Tucker has chosen to use this place to put forward the views of another organisation, the South East Forest Alliance. What Ms Tucker has asked us to do is exactly what the South East Forest Alliance has asked its members and its supporters to do individually, and that is to write to the Premier of New South Wales along particular lines. That is exactly what Ms Tucker has asked this whole Assembly to do, way outside our sphere of influence.

It is true that policies we pass in this place often have some effect over the border. When we passed legislation for tip fees, that caused some issues over the border. How would we have reacted to the New South Wales Government saying, "Change your policy, ACT Government."? We would have said, "Fine. Give us the money". Or we would have told them exactly what to do, and rightly so. This is patently ridiculous policy - members in this place using our Assembly, our parliament, for absolutely inappropriate reasons. Every day we sit in this Assembly it costs our taxpayers money.

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