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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3291 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

is in their hands like the way they cast their vote on a ballot paper, I think a sense of responsibility cuts in and the way in which those powers are exercised is changed. I think the confidence which each of us in this place inherently has in the commonsense and integrity of the citizens of our community cuts in in a situation like that. If we were asking people every few weeks to cast a vote on some new issue, yes, I could accept the argument that we may well end up with people being consulted out, but this is not a proposal to do that. Quite the contrary.

I want to emphasise in closing that we do have a problem with the way government works, not just in this territory but across Australia. It is clear that many people feel a sense of disempowerment and they want to see the dynamics of democracy change. I believe that the process that we put in train here is heavily guarded against those sorts of problems which have been raised. It is, I think, the best manifestation of this concept which has been put as yet to any parliament in Australia, perhaps in the world.

This is a system which deserves serious attention. It will lose again today, I know, but the Liberal party believes in this concept and will return to the Assembly again and again in the future to put this forward. I predict that we or our successors one day will succeed with this because the community does believe that we need to change the dynamics of decision-making and they need more of a role in that decision-making, and this is one way of achieving that.

MR CORBELL (4.22): This has been a very interesting and thoughtful debate. What I want to contribute, I guess, is in some respects a response to some of the matters raised by the Chief Minister. The first of those is his assertion that the crisis in government and, using the Chief Minister's term more broadly, the crisis in government and parliaments, and the nature of representative democracy, is a result of the system in which that democracy operates. I reject that assertion.

The crisis in government and the crisis in representative democracy is not a result of the system. It is a result, in my mind, of the convergence and the homogenisation of philosophical belief. That is the crisis which has led to people feeling that parliaments and elected representatives no longer-

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Mr Corbell, resume your seat. Gentlemen in the gallery, phones are not permitted in this chamber. Thank you very much. Mr Corbell has the floor.

MR CORBELL: It is the homogenisation of philosophical belief. This is a phenomena occurring around the world. The notion that there were different schools of thought as to how a society would evolve has come under challenge as we have seen an increasing merging towards the centre. The old left and right are no longer relevant in modern society in the same way they were 20 or 30 years ago. So the notion of achieving change and of seeing parliaments deliver on that change has come under challenge as a result.

That is the failing of government. It is the failure of ideas. It is not the failure of the system. That is one reason why people are turning outside of the mainstream political parties for support. It is why people are turning to Independents and minor parties. They are seeking an alternative idea base. It is not a result of the system itself. It is not a result

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