Page 321 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 December 2008

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These are some of the concerns we would have, but that debate can be undertaken once we have a more concrete idea of how these principles would be put into practice. We are very happy to endorse the broad principles of Latimer House. They are about good governance. They are about the relationship between the arms of government. I believe that we have a very good system here, one we can certainly build on, and we will continue to monitor this debate and look at the details very closely.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.28): Firstly, let me apologise to Mr Seselja for my slightly clumsy exit from the chair whilst he was speaking. I had thought he had finished the point.

In speaking to this motion, I would like at the outset to note the particular interest of my predecessor, the previous Speaker, in this debate. Mr Berry gave papers to both the 38th and 39th Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference, outlining the Latimer House principles in developing a legislature’s budget. I highly recommend those to all members of the Assembly. I note also that the previous Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon David Hawker MP, took a strong interest in the use and application of the Latimer House principles.

The ACT Greens are, of course, very pleased and enormously proud to have brought about this motion endorsing the commonwealth Latimer House principles on the accountability of and relationship among the three branches of government. Today is a momentous day in the history of the Legislative Assembly, not only because of the new composition of the chamber, but because of the new direction we are taking for the operation of government and the parliament of the ACT.

The commonwealth Latimer House principles describe best practice for the relationship between parliament, the executive and the judiciary and provide guidelines which are designed to ensure protection of the sovereignty of parliament and the independence of the judiciary—two critical components of democratic governance.

The principles underline the importance of separation of powers but also acknowledge the complexity of the relationship between the three branches of government. They accord a high value to integrity and strong oversight agencies, which are critical components of an emerging fourth sphere of our system of democracy and protection of human rights. As has already been mentioned, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting endorsed the principles in Nigeria—

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 2 pm.

Questions without notice

Gas-fired power station and data centre

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. I refer to the Auditor-General’s report on a proposal for a gas-fired power station and data centre. The Auditor-General found:

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