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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3094 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (7.57), in reply: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am not going to look any support for the bill in the mouth, even if it is slightly bizarre. I look forward to seeing Mr Berry rigged up with his padded shoulders, little helmet and knee-pads. I am sure he will have a moniker of some sort that befits that kind of outfit. Perhaps it will be something like "the fireman".

It is hard to imagine Saturday night footy being replaced by Saturday night parly. But, who knows, if we rise to the occasion I am sure we can entertain even the most hardened crowd when it comes to providing entertainment for the masses.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, we heard a lot tonight about what Mr Stanhope called alienation, disempowerment and disconnection of the parliament; that we need to do something more to get people enthusiastic about our parliament.

Mr Moore: He should have been here in '89, shouldn't he?

MR HUMPHRIES: Indeed, that is the case. I think some of us would recall that if you ever wanted disconnection, disempowerment and alienation, you only needed to be around in 1989 when members of the Assembly were practically spat on in the streets, for a variety of reasons. You might say that we have come a long way since then, and perhaps we have. But, by the same token, we also have to acknowledge that there are still some very significant problems out there.

We have an image problem. We are still not seen as the embodiment of the democratic spirit. In certain parts of the world, such as East Timor, people have been dying for the right to be represented and to have parliaments to vote for and to look after them. However, at some stages in our history the ACT has virtually been at the point of having people willing to die on the streets to make sure we did not have a parliament to vote for.

I think the problem is about the product that we are trying to sell, not about the way in which we are trying to sell it. I do not think the problem is that people do not know what we are doing. I think in some respects people know all too well what we are doing and they are not all that impressed. I note that there is a need for us to rethink the way government works in the ACT.

Let me put my view. I do not think it is a good idea for us to start broadcasting question time in this place because to do so would not bring any credit to this Assembly or its members. I do not think people would be overjoyed to see what we do in here, and I think the more they saw of it the less they would think of us.

Whether you would say that the broadcasting of question time in the House of Representatives, or at least extracts of it in the news, has been a great success is a matter of some debate. But I certainly recall seeing footage of our leaders in recent years which has been very much less than flattering, and I am not sure that we need to do the same thing here. However, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, this bill is designed to make sure that, if we decide to do so at some point in the future, we can broadcast out proceedings and ensure that the access that some people crave can be facilitated.

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