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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 188 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

I think those people who take it upon themselves to remove from those of us who value our history the rights that we possess are quite arrogant and quite above themselves. I repeat that I find it quite objectionable for Mr Corbell, the Labor Party or Ms Tucker to presume to have the right to say to me in future, "You will not be able to swear allegiance to the Queen of Australia."

Mr Osborne: Protest and don't come to vote on this.

MR KAINE: I am going to vote on it. I am going to support your amendments because, although you say you do not like the Queen, I suppose that is your right, too. But at least you are giving me the option. You are not saying to me that I cannot do what I have done all my life and what I will continue to do for the rest of my life.

As I have said, I find this sort of thing to be quite objectionable. I wonder where Ms Tucker thinks she gets the right from to impose her beliefs on me. This is supposed to be a democracy and it still is a democracy in which, under our Constitution, the Queen is recognised as our queen. Nobody can remove that right from me until such time as the status is changed by democratic process. We have heard already that there was an attempt to do that a little while back and it was rejected. Ms Tucker says, "That doesn't matter. In Canberra a majority of the people voted to do away with the Queen." It just so happens that a majority of the total votes in Australia plus a majority of the voting states are required to change the Constitution. It has always been the case that minorities-and 56 per cent of the population of Canberra is still pretty much a minority in the whole of Australia-lose. Yet, despite the fact that they lost that one, they try to impose this sort of thing on those of us who do not agree with them. I believe this to be quite out of order.

I will not support any of the four amendments proposed by Ms Tucker on this matter but I will support Mr Osborne's amendments that allow me the option of exercising my right, which has been a lifelong right and which I hope will remain a lifelong right that nobody should be empowered to take away from me.

MR OSBORNE (9:04): I know we have chuckled a little bit about this issue but I think there have been some serious precedents in respect of this legislation. I have said on the record a number of times that I support a republic and that I do not see that we as a nation need to have a queen or a king that lives on the other side of the world. But at the end of the day we went to a referendum and we lost. I accept that, Mr Speaker. I accept that, whether I like it or not, the Queen is the head of state of Australia.

To remove the option for people in here to swear allegiance to the head of state of this country is I think-what is the word I am looking for?

Mr Kaine: Over the top.

MR OSBORNE: Perhaps I will not be quite as harsh as Ms Tucker was earlier today towards my legislation. I have had the benefit of the dinner break so I am not quite as-

Ms Tucker: I was being nice to you.

MR OSBORNE: You were being nice to me, were you? Good.

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