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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 187 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

ACT. The people who are going to swear these oaths will be from outside the ACT as well. These people will come from New South Wales, Victoria and the rest of the Commonwealth of Australia. They will not be restricted just to the ACT.

I think it is relevant to note that the people of Australia, and indeed the people of the states, voted to retain the current constitutional arrangements. This is the situation whether members of this Assembly like it not. Until such time as Australia does become a republic we are, whether people like it or not, a constitutional monarchy and our sovereign, our head of state, or whatever, is Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of Australia, her heirs and successors, et cetera. Because of the result of the referendum, these amendments are inappropriate.

If we were to pass the amendments we would be arrogant politicians going against the will of the people. Pauline Hanson and those sorts of the people would probably have a field day, Mr Speaker. "Here we go again, all those wine and cheese pinko lefties in Canberra, all those Chardonnay socialists, getting rid of the Queen." Just think what people in the back lots of Queensland would be thinking. Quite seriously though, the republic option in the referendum got more and more soundly trounced the further you got away from Canberra into the surrounding shires of New South Wales.

It was very much a case of the alternative being the politicians' republic. I do not doubt that at some stage we probably will change our constitution. If we are going to do that, I hope we will do it in a better way than the half-baked way people went about it last time. But you cannot get away from the fact that we are still a constitutional monarchy, the Queen is still the Queen of Australia, and therefore this legislation is inappropriate.

I hear what people say and I suspect the numbers are against my party in this debate.

Mr Osborne: No, I will give you a choice in this. I am pro-choice. I want to give you a choice.

MR STEFANIAK: Good on you. I have read Mr Osborne's amendments and I might say that if, against the will of the Australian people, this bill gets up, at least Mr Osborne has proposed that there be a choice.

Mr Osborne: I don't like the Queen but I am going to give you a choice.

MR STEFANIAK: He is going to give us a choice. So I flag at this in-principle stage consideration of the legislation that certainly the Liberal Party will be supporting the choice provided for in Mr Osborne's amendments. I reiterate what I said about the referendum and I conclude by saying, "God save the Queen."

MR KAINE (9.00): I guess it goes without saying that I will support Mr Osborne's amendments. Unlike Mr Corbell, I was born a long time ago when it was customary to recognise the fact that the Queen was our queen, and I still do. Therefore, I find it quite objectionable when others attempt to remove my right to have that view, to remove my right to take an oath of allegiance to my queen. As far as I am concerned she still is my queen and while the Constitution of Australia recognises her as the queen of this country she will remain my queen-or unless I die first, which I probably will because I do not see the republic appearing in the foreseeable future.

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