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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3806 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

Mr Quinlan spoke about a local council style of government. I strongly believe that members do themselves an extraordinary disservice by talking about such a style of government. I think it is appalling. I abhor it. I have abhorred it from the time I first heard it. This parliament works as well as any parliament I know. That does not mean it cannot become better.

Mr Quinlan spoke about ACT ministers walking into ministerial conferences. When I walk into a ministerial conference, I consider myself amongst equals. My view came from thinking about Rhode Island, which with a population not much bigger than the ACT's, has the same position in the US as California, which has a population bigger than that of Australia. On that example, we are entitled to a position, we expect it, we take it and we deliver for the people of the ACT. We may even have an opportunity to make a contribution for the people of Australia as well.

I express my appreciation of the effort Mr Stanhope went to challenge some issues. He referred to the Federalist Papers. I have read the Federalist Papers to get a better understanding of how democracy works. I am sure other members who have read part or all of them as well. They raise issues that are still pertinent. That is what is so interesting and exciting about them. Written 300 years ago, they talk about the principles on which a democratic system should be based.

Mr Stanhope also touched on the Auditor-General. I take this opportunity to warn members that reports of the Auditor-General should be taken into account but not given lofty status as I see happening. It does not matter whether it is an inquiry by the Auditor-General, a committee of inquiry or a senior person. Responsibility lies here.

Mr Berry: You have to be careful. That is what Jeff Kennett said, too.

MR MOORE: Mr Berry mentions Jeff Kennett. I strongly disagree with the way Jeff Kennett dealt with the Auditor-General in Victoria. But auditors-general, ICACs and so on are not elected. They are not accountable to the people. We have to be very careful. We had legislation here proposing that the term of the Auditor-General be seven years. I do not think that such a person should effectively have power over elected representatives for more than one term, whether it be five years or seven years. The same applies to ICACs and so on. A problem arises when such appointed bodies consider themselves a power unto themselves. Members will need to be careful of that.

Mr Stanhope also spoke of ceremonial reconciliation. I am reminded of something I had forgotten about for some years. I remember hearing Professor Pettit's speech and thinking that it was something we needed to do, but then I did nothing about it. I regret doing nothing about it. We should put a challenge to the Speaker of the next Assembly. That is where such issues should be dealt with.

Something was done about it recently when Mr Quinlan and Mr Smyth travelled to China. Credit should go to both members and to the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. We can do much better. Whether Mr Stanhope or Mr Humphries is the next Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope has thrown down the gauntlet.

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