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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1682 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the government appears to justify this legislation, from what I have heard so far anyway, on the basis that it brings us into line with the Commonwealth. Is that so? We do not have an electoral arrangement that looks anything like what the Commonwealth has got, so why does the supporting legislation have to be like the Commonwealth's legislation? That is no justification. It is an excuse, perhaps, but it does not justify the government's position. If being in line with the Commonwealth is really considered desirable, where are the amendments to this act to turn us into a single-member electorate system? I would have thought the Labor Party would have been asking that question. If we must be like the Commonwealth, whose lower house has single-member electorates, where is the legislation to make us like the Commonwealth in that respect? It is legislation that we will never see, because it would have dire consequences particularly for the government. I am sure Mr Stanhope would love to see that. In fact, I do not know why, in this kind of change, he has not put an amendment on the table to achieve it.

To come to Labor: Mr Stanhope, in his speech, justified it on the ground that we Independent and small party candidates need to demonstrate that we have a level of support within the community. I thought the level of support was reflected in what happened in the ballot box, not that you should have to jump half a dozen six-feet high hurdles before you get to the ballot box to see whether you have any support. But no, we have to jump the hurdles and establish that we have adequate community support, unlike Liberal and Labor Party candidates, before we get to the ballot box. In terms of the sort of legislation that I am talking about, making our entire system like that of the Commonwealth, I think we crossbenchers will have to wait till the moon turns blue before we see any of that. I am not convinced by the argument put forward by the government.

All I can say is that, no matter what we crossbenchers say tonight, tomorrow or the next day, this legislation will go through, with a few minor amendments perhaps, none of which will do the crossbenchers much good, so we will have to figure out how to get around these obstacles. I think some of us will successfully negotiate the high jumps, the bunkers and the puddles and get there anyway; maybe some of us will not. For my own part, I am even considering circumventing all of this work-I was going to use the word "crap", but I had better not as it is probably unparliamentary-as I have been contemplating seeking to join the Greens, because then I would not have to go through any of it. The Greens are already a party and they would do all of the work for me. Wouldn't it give the government a stitch if I were to sit here alongside Ms Tucker as a member of the Greens? Wouldn't it give Ms Tucker a stitch?

There are remedies. If we crossbenchers do not like the new hurdles that the government and the opposition are putting in front of us, there are ways around them. I might go and have a little discussion with Ms Tucker tomorrow about membership. She may not accept my nomination, of course, but there are ways around it. If, during all this process, the Greens reject me and I have to do it the hard way and falter, the government still will not be rid of me, I can assure it. I will become a regular correspondent with the Canberra Times, the Chronicle and the Valley View and I will strike up a new relationship with Crispin Hull and the government will continue to have me on its shoulders. To Mr Stanhope and to Mr Humphries, I can only say, "You can run but you can't hide."

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