Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3911 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
that he was a supporter of the government's position. The document itself does not have all the information in it about different options and it does not have as an option no change to the current system.
I have already explained, but I will do it again for Mr Cornwell's benefit, that the members of the ACT public who were there last night expressed concern because they understood that the discussion paper would have many points of view there for discussion to stimulate thinking and the debate. The concern expressed by most of the speakers last night-ordinary people from Canberra-was that they did not understand the process because the facilitator was supporting the government's position and the other two gentlemen sitting there did not say very much.
I asked the other two gentlemen, Mr Lavarch and the other person whose name Mr Cornwell mentioned, to explain their position-it is all on the record-and they said that they were not connected with the discussion paper. That was clarified during the meeting, although, as I said, the facilitator was definitely supportive of the government position and the discussion paper does not put all the options.
In fact, Professor Mackerras pointed out that it was a dishonest document, because it does not point out the lack of representation in the lower house. I have already read out those figures, but I will repeat them in response to Mr Stefaniak's claim that somehow the Senate is unrepresentative. If you look at the figures for John Howard and his government, you will see that when they were elected in 1998 their share of the primary vote was under 40 per cent. The fact that the electoral system allows them to have 55 per cent of the seats is an issue of concern to people who are interested in who has a mandate and who does not have a mandate.
I think that it is also important for state and territory legislators to debate this issue because it is going to affect every Australian citizen. It is perfectly appropriate that we have this debate in this place and that, if a majority of members are of a particular view, that view be directed directly to the Prime Minister, who is the main instigator of this so-called reform process. It is perfectly reasonable for the Assembly to do that. It is also perfectly reasonable for individual members to write to the consultative group who are undertaking the "Resolving Deadlock"discussion process. As Mr Cornwell said, there is absolutely no issue with that, but I do not think that it is at all appropriate that Mr Cornwell's amendment be supported, because this is a legitimate debate and we have the right to put the view of the Assembly to the Prime Minister.
That Mr Cornwell's amendment be agreed to.
The Assembly voted-