Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2970 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
away from the territory. However, if it is the territory that has to pay the cost of additional members in this place-if it is the Assembly which must accept responsibility for how this place works and how members relate and interact, and what is the critical mass to make that happen-then surely the Commonwealth should not be the final arbiter of those decisions. They are rightly decisions of this place and the people who elect us to this place. In that regard, I believe there is a need for the Commonwealth to accept that there is a greater level of self-determination available to citizens, and to this city, than that provided for currently.
Mr Hargreaves has raised an important matter for debate today. The challenge is for the territory to continue to engage with the Commonwealth on planning and land development issues. We will seek to do that at every opportunity, but we need also the engagement of all parts of the Commonwealth, if we are to achieve successful outcomes on the integration of planning and land development matters here in the ACT.
MR PRATT (3.57): Mr Speaker, we support self-determination-and we defend it to the death.
MR SPEAKER: I trust we never have to be tested on that score!
MR PRATT: Absolutely. I would hate to see us turning out in khaki-it would be a terrible sight!
Whilst we support an expansion of the Assembly, I rise to respond and speak against Mr Hargreaves' MPI. His criticism of the role of the federal authorities in the good governance of the ACT is unfounded. This is the capital territory, established to safeguard and run the nation's capital. It is axiomatic, therefore, that some functions in this place will always remain the authority of the federal government.
The ACT Labor government needs to come to grips with that reality. We territorians are in a good position in respect of self-government. A significant majority of activities in the ACT are delegated in entirety to the ACT authority. There is a significant array of federal assets in the territory, and it was always envisaged by the founding fathers of this country that the management of those assets would remain in the hands of the federal authorities. Even so, a considerable amount of delegation in the day-to-day running of the management or shared management of those assets has, through osmosis, eventually passed down to the ACT government.
Mr Speaker, to argue that the ACT government needs increased powers of delegation to determine outcomes affecting the administration of national assets is a nonsense. It smacks of raw politics-of a territorial Labor government simply wanting to have a crack at the federal government. I cite two examples-Labor's meddling and political opportunism-which characterise this.
For the first example, I will make a quick comment about the tent embassy saga. I do not intend to debate the rights or wrongs of the presence of the Aboriginal tent embassy. That is another subject. However, the important issue here, in this debate, is that the ACT government has demonstrated weaknesses and indiscretions, which I now outline.