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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3295 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

One Nation is in decline. It is another part of the cycle which I think will disappear when people recognise its weakness on many social issues. Yes, I think it emerged because of the very issues that Mr Corbell raised in his contribution to the debate. People felt alienated because there was a bit of mainstream concern rather than concern for those minority groups out there in the community. Somebody saw the opportunity and One Nation took off like a jet plane, but I think it is just about out of petrol. That is my view. There will be elements of it around for a while, and it is up to us as politicians to demonstrate that the particular philosophy that they pedal is dangerous in many respects for the future of our community. That is our job, as I said earlier. It is up to us to expose the frailties of those people who we think are going to damage society as we have come to understand and relish it.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I welcome this debate again. I go back to the point that I made earlier which was first of all made by Mr Moore. The more I hear of this debate, the stronger I am opposed to CIR because of all of the frailties which are exposed each time it is unravelled in this place. I do not worry about the debate coming back again because I think it will become weaker next time, because more and more will be able to be analysed as we go through the process.

The debate today has had far more depth than it has had in the past, not because of my contribution but because of others. As an observer of the debate over the years, it has had far more depth today than it has ever had, and I think that is a good thing. If for no other reason, I welcome Mr Humphries' introduction of it into the Assembly. That depth of understanding of this issue also exposes the shallow nature of citizen-initiated referendum and the dangers to a future community that could result if it were adopted.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (4.42), in reply: I will be closing the debate. I must agree with Mr Berry in terms of the standard of the debate. It certainly has been an excellent debate. I do not remember any highlights from the previous times that citizen-initiated referenda was debated here. None spring to mind, so I think there is probably a lot of strength in what he says in terms of it having been an excellent debate and a lot of views having been put forward.

I must disagree with some of the views. I think the Chief Minister summed up why we need citizen-initiated referenda, mentioned some of the potential problems if we do not, and gave a very good recitation on the history of democracy. Basically, that is what this bill really is about.

I think history is important. Mr Berry talked about the United States. Might I make the point to start with that Australians are somewhat dissimilar from Americans. Whilst both of our countries are democracies, and we are both very good democracies, we are different democracies. We have different perspectives, different points of view, and different systems and thought patterns.

Mr Berry picked two examples. He was quite right. I recall that one involving the Reagan governorship of California when people voted not to raise taxes. I was not aware of the one in Portland, Oregon, or whatever it was he was talking about, the other one on euthanasia. He indicated that he did not like the one about taxes but he liked the one about euthanasia. It's like anything else. It's like matters that come before this place. Not

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