Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 130 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
common sense that we have those conversations along the way and prepare the ground so that in the event of such a change being recommended by the community at large, the process at the conclusion of that will be merely mechanical. I think that is the issue here-it is just the mechanical part of the process. I do understand Ms Dundas' concern with this issue but, from where we stand, this is really just a mechanical mechanism.
MS DUNDAS: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak again.
MS DUNDAS: I wish to briefly clarify my position. I take on board all the points that have been raised about my amendment. Under the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act, discussion needs to take place with the federal government about any changes to this Assembly. My concern is with the discussion around the devolution of power to this Assembly.
Repeatedly the major parties in the federal parliament do collude. We are always accountable to the electorate, but if we suddenly change the electorates then we would be changing the people we are accountable to. My concern at this stage is with the devolution to this 17-member single house Assembly of the power to make our own electorates.
I believe that discussion needs to be had. I believe that it is desirable to look at increasing the membership of this Assembly and the ways that this Assembly operates, and I am quite happy for those discussions to take place. I will support in the future the possibility of discussion of devolution of power to this Assembly. But at this stage I cannot support the devolution of power to a 17-member single house Assembly.
Perhaps it would have been better if my amendment sought to remove the words "to devolve to the Assembly the power to determine the number of members", and I will take that on board for further debates. But I just wanted to clarify my position on this matter and thank you all for your time.
Ms Dundas' amendment negatived.
Mr Hargreaves' amendment agreed to.
MS TUCKER (12.08): Mr Speaker, in wrapping up this debate I will respond to one thing that Ms Dundas said about changing electorates. There is a requirement, as Mr Humphries said, for a referendum if you want to do anything too radical in that department. She obviously still stands by the other points that she made, and that is fine.
I did not hear anyone except Mr Stanhope address the key point of my motion and why I am against the matter being referred to a committee. I am concerned that the case, if you like, should be presented initially so that the community can think about the issues and then a committee process would be appropriate.
Mr Stanhope said that he thought the potential was there for the committee process itself to be educative, and that is true to an extent. I acknowledge that and, as someone who is on the Legal Affairs Committee, I would certainly be trying to encourage that. Education