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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1852 ..

Mr Wood (continuing):

Food Act-

Food Regulations 2002-Subordinate Law 2002 No 10 (LR, 7 May 2002)

Determination of fees-Disallowable Instrument DI2002-37 (LR, 9 May 2002)

Health and Community Care Services Act-

Determination of fees and charges-Disallowable Instrument DI2002-40 (LR, 13 May 2002)

Land (Planning and Environment) Act-Determination of matters to be taken into consideration for the grant of a further rural lease-Disallowable Instrument DI2002-47 (LR, 30 May 2002)

Nature Conservation Act-Declaration of species of native animals or native plants requiring special protective status-Disallowable Instrument DI2002-42 (LR, 16 May 2002)

Public Place Names Act-

Determination of public place nomenclature in the Division of Phillip-Disallowable Instrument DI2002-43 (LR, 16 May 2002)

Determination of public place nomenclature in the Division of Campbell-Disallowable Instrument DI2002-44 (LR, 16 May 2002)

Rehabilitation of Offenders (Interim) Act-Instrument of appointment of a non-judicial member to the Sentence Administration Board of the Australian Capital Territory-Disallowable Instrument DI2002-27 (LR, 10 May 2002).

Indigenous suffrage in Australia

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received a letter from Ms Gallagher proposing that a matter of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion, namely:

The fortieth anniversary of universal indigenous suffrage in Australia.

MS GALLAGHER (3.57): I rise today to talk on a significant yet relatively obscure day in the history of this nation's democracy. On 18 June 2002 it will be exactly 40 years since an amendment to the Commonwealth Electoral Act commenced, finally extending the right to vote to all indigenous Australians. I say "finally" because it took over 170 years after the arrival of white people in this land before indigenous Australians received the right to participate in the direction of this country.

I raise this as a matter of public importance for a number of reasons. We recently commemorated National Sorry Day, last week was Reconciliation Week, and yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the Mabo decision. We commemorate and celebrate these events as part of an ongoing process of reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

I raise the issue to remind us of the fact that indigenous people have had basic democratic rights for less than half a century in this country. I raise this issue because to examine the history of indigenous suffrage in Australia is to recognise the necessity for reconciliation and recognise the inequalities of our own making that existed and continue to exist between those who were here first and those who came later.

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