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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 192 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

relevance to the performance of office holders, nor to the commitment to serve the people of the ACT.

There is absolutely no purpose. It is a mindless anachronism to have to make such a commitment to the Queen and to have that commitment incorporated in the oaths or affirmations. I think it does distort the relationship between elected representatives and the people. The responsibilities that each of us have are responsibilities vested in us by the people of the ACT. To render those responsibilities subservient to some overriding commitment to the Queen, a foreign national living in a foreign country who barely visits us and has absolutely no relevance to us, is simply a nonsense.

As Mr Quinlan says, it is an absurdity, it is a joke, it is laughable, and we should not persist with it. As recently as this week-and I say this with great respect to Mrs Burke-we heard a member of this place swearing allegiance to the Queen. I found this quite peculiar, completely and totally anachronistic and something that I do not believe is relevant at all to this place.

This raises some other issues-and I will conclude on this point-in respect of the republican debate. Recently I raised the point that a way forward has been suggested in relation to the need to persist with the inexorable move to a republic. It is going to occur and I think it behoves parliaments and politicians around Australia to be part of the process. I would hope that the government in this place would support the suggestions that are being facilitated by Richard McGarvie and Sir Zelman Cowan in relation to a people's convention on the republic at Corowa.

I would hope that there is a republican amongst the ranks of the government. It appears that perhaps there is not. I would have hoped that at least there was one republican on the other side of this place but I am not sure that there is. Having said that, I think it behoves the government in this place to take seriously the moves that are being made nationally to reconvene the debate about how to move forward in relation to the attaining of a republic or at least to meet the desire of the Australian people to have an Australian as their head of state.

We can perhaps adjust our language in relation to this rather than talking about the move for a republic. We can talk in terms of the need or the desirability to attain what so many Australians want-an Australian head of state. I ask in this forum that the government take seriously the moves to convene a major and significant convention in Corowa this coming December in order to find a way forward that meets the aspirations of all Australians in relation to this very important issue.

MR RUGENDYKE (9.22): Mr Speaker, I suppose "ambivalent" is one word I would use to describe my interest in this debate, not having a great attachment to either the monarchy or the republic. But what I find objectionable is the attitude of the Labor Party and the Greens, and in particular Mr Stanhope's outrageous denigration of Mrs Burke's heritage.

Mr Stanhope: That's crap, Dave. Absolute crap, Dave.

MR SPEAKER: Order! That is unparliamentary. Withdraw it, Mr Stanhope

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