Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2972 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
I do not have sufficient trust in the inherent goodness of any political party that I would be prepared to hand all political power over to them. When the federal government chooses to intervene, the issue is generally a divisive one, where the two sides are fairly evenly matched. It seems to me that the states rights line is advanced only by the side which does not want the federal government to intervene.
Let us compare what happened in Tasmania, regarding the Franklin Dam, with what happened in the Northern Territory with euthanasia. It would not surprise me if many of the same people who cried, "states rights!" on euthanasia were cheering the federal government's decision to protect a world heritage area by trampling on those same states rights. I think most of us have too much trouble looking beyond the specifics of each divisive issue to focus on the process at hand.
Canberra is Australia's capital. This is the Australian Capital Territory. As a result, we will always have a very special relationship with the federal government. For the most part, I believe Canberrans would agree that there are benefits from our relationship with the federal government. Whilst there are issues to be resolved, and maybe more self-determination is warranted, let us not set up a situation of a quasi-dictatorship, no matter how benevolent that might be.
MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (4.05): Mr Speaker, I did not intend to join this debate, but I want to pick up a couple of points made by Mr Pratt in his eternally inconsistent dissertation earlier. On one hand, he was saying that the forefathers meant Canberra to be run this way, but he then immediately castigated the ACT for some weakness in relation to the Aboriginal tent embassy.
The Aboriginal tent embassy is located opposite old Parliament House for a purpose. It is a formal protest aimed at the federal government and federal Australia-in fact, it is aimed at all of Australia. If anything is to change at the tent embassy, then it has to be at the instigation of the federal government or the National Capital Authority.
Mr Pratt: I have no argument with that.
MR QUINLAN: Then, I think your comments about lack of leadership on the part of the ACT are totally misplaced, Mr Pratt.
Mr Pratt: Meddling, Mr Quinlan. The government was playing a meddling role, in not allowing the federal authorities to sort that saga out.
MR QUINLAN: Not allowing the federal authorities to sort it out-I did not know we had that much clout!
Mr Pratt: Not joining with the federal authorities to offer a positive initiative.
MR QUINLAN: You will have to give me a little detail as to from where we derive that clout. We would like to apply that to, say, land sales-referred to by Mr Hargreaves-where, at the onset of self-government, somebody coloured in some little sections of the map and said, "The Commonwealth might need these-we will have them."