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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 185 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

governance and people who are primarily served by government agencies, instrumentalities and other bodies.

Ms Tucker has taken a very positive step in proposing to remove from oaths and affirmations taken in our various courts and other tribunals references to the Crown. It is a move that I would imagine all members on the Labor side of the house are very pleased to support. I would hope that it would be supported by all members in this place because surely our primary obligation here is not to some hereditary monarch 10,000 miles away but to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

People should swear an oath or make an affirmation not in the name of someone whose position is a matter of genetic inheritance-this is one of the most archaic principles you could have in a modern democracy for determining a position of authority-but to the source of authority in our own society, which is of course the people.

So these moves are welcome. They progress the debate about a republic and asserting our own independence and autonomy as a nation. It is interesting and very appropriate that we are debating this legislation in the ACT Legislative Assembly because the Legislative Assembly itself, unlike every other state and territory in Australia, is effectively the parliament of a republic. It is the parliament of a republic because we do not have some age old vintage vestige of a Crown, or the Crown's representative even, to approve and enact laws made by this place. We have a Chief Minister, who does that very effectively.

You have to wonder, Mr Speaker, why places like New South Wales and Victoria spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to maintain the charade-

Mr Moore: Millions.

MR CORBELL: Indeed, Mr Moore, millions of dollars each year to have a governor to directly represent Queen Elizabeth II in each of the states and territories, except the ACT, just for the sake of signing a law and choosing who will be the head of government. Correct me if I am wrong but I understand that even the Northern Territory has an administrator who is effectively the representative of the Crown through the Governor-General.

So, Mr Speaker, it has worked well so far. We have shown that we do not need a representative of the Crown to govern ourselves effectively and to have legislation approved, enacted and implemented. We have shown that we can choose our head of government without needing to take a little journey to government house somewhere, wherever that could be located-perhaps, Mr Moore, Reid would be a suitable place for a government house.

So if we do not need the Crown for those things, I do not think we need it for the oaths and affirmations that people have to swear or make. I think it is time for this Assembly to move on; it is time for the territory to move on. This is a progressive reform that I am very proud as a Labor member and as a republican to support.

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