Page 359 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 December 2008

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to have regard to it. We would, of course, argue that as citizens of the territory we should have greater control over what that document says and what it permits us to do or not do. And that is something which is a matter for debate at another time.

That said, I think the endorsement today by all sides recognises that these are principles that are inherent to our system of government in the ACT and that they, in many respects, spell out informally the nature and the conduct of our democratic institutions already. We do have a strong, independent and vigorous judiciary. We do have a vigorous Assembly, a vigorous legislature, and we do have a well-established and functioning executive which engages with the legislature in the Westminster model in a vigorous way and, I think, in the way that the Latimer House principles envisage that relationship should occur.

There will always be gains in the margins for a territory like the ACT. An advanced western democracy such as ours is different from an emergent democracy or a nascent democracy in, say, Africa or other emerging and developing countries. I think the important thing to stress about the Latimer House principles is that they are designed to cover that whole range of democratic nation states, from the nascent and emerging ones to the well-established and advanced ones in terms of their practice and procedure. That is something which, I think, needs to be borne in the minds of members as well.

That said, this is an important motion. It does set out a range of principles and concepts that are worthy of incorporation into our standing orders and that is something that this motion will achieve. Labor is pleased to sponsor the motion and to have the support of other members in implementing it.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Administration and Procedure—Standing Committee


MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (4.00), by leave: I move:

That the Standing Committee for Administration and Procedure:

(1) inquire into appropriate mechanisms to coordinate and evaluate the implementation of the Latimer House Principles in the governance of the ACT; and

(2) report to the Assembly by the last sitting week in June 2009.

I draw members’ attention to recommendation No 2 of report 14 of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, August 2008, which stated that the government and the Legislative Assembly Secretariat finalise their discussions on creating an appropriate framework within which to apply the Latimer House principles to the ACT and report to the Legislative Assembly before the last sitting day of the Sixth Assembly. Obviously, that did not occur, but we now have the opportunity to create this appropriate framework in the Seventh Assembly.

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