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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 186 ..

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (8.53): Mr Speaker, I assume that Mr Osborne's amendments are still current, as that may well be quite relevant. On the last occasion this matter was debated, my colleague, the then Attorney-General and the now Chief Minister and monarchist Mr Humphries, indicated that the Liberal Party would be opposing the legislation. He did so for very good reasons at the time, which I would submit are even better now. At that time a referendum had been called on whether Australia should continue to be a monarchy or become a republic. He felt that the legislation pre-empted that referendum. Indeed, he indicated that, although Ms Tucker is the first to criticise any perceived fault in a process which may pre-empt a finding, the bills that she had introduced would do just that.

I am glad to say that on that occasion the debate was adjourned. I am not quite sure how it happened but if you had a hand in that, Kerrie, well done, because it meant that the legislation did not pre-empt the referendum. I will give you the benefit of the doubt there-I am not quite sure how that happened.

However, here we are today and guess what? We have had that referendum and the people of Australia rejected the republic. The people might have rejected the politicians' republic, and if that is the case it is all the more reason why politicians in this place should not be trying to ram down people's throats the amendments put forward by Ms Tucker. The amendments would be fine if the people of Australia voted for a republic, but they did not. About 55 per cent of people-or was it even more?-voted for Australia to stay a constitutional monarchy; a constitutional monarchy, I might say, which has served us well. Historically, Australia would have to be one of the most stable democracies in the world.

Mr Stanhope: 70 per cent of the people in Macgregor want a republic.

MR STEFANIAK: Well, good on them. I note that the oaths contained in Ms Tucker's amendments are very similar to the oaths that are sworn in Fiji. Fiji was a democracy once; I do not quite know if it is now. I do not know if that is the best example. My colleague the then Attorney-General asked for some examples from around the world. He asked what was happening in Canada. Canada is an interesting case. In many ways it is a fairly similar place to Australia in terms of being a long standing democracy within the Commonwealth. It has been an independent country for many years. Canada's Citizens Act, which was updated as of 31 August 1998, contains an oath or affirmation of citizenship which states:

I swear or affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.

A number of other oaths are worded in a similar vein. So it is interesting that Canada does not have the provision proposed by Ms Tucker.

Someone might say that the ACT is the only jurisdiction in which the majority of citizens voted for a republic. If Ms Tucker's amendments dealt only with people in the ACT and no-one else there may be grounds for some argument. It is an argument which might have legs but probably would not run very far; at least it would have legs. But such an argument does not apply in this case. Our courts not only deal with people from just the

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