Page 2324 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 16 June 2009

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Well, I know who I would want to have on my side of the fight about democratic self-government—and it would not be Mr Seselja, because Mr Seselja is the one person in this place who thinks he should not have the right to properly and fully represent his constituents. What is it about this place that he thinks he should not have the power to make laws without the interference of the commonwealth parliament? This parliament should be able to determine its own size and be accountable to the electorate for it. What is it about being the current Leader of the Opposition that he thinks he has to rely on the guidance and the support of his elders and betters up on the hill? What is it about his state of mind that would suggest that he feels he does not have the confidence to make these decisions for himself?

In fact, it seems that the opposition has real trouble making decisions generally. Whether it is about Calvary hospital, whether it is about important reforms in education or whether it is about whether or not we should have the right to govern for ourselves, the Liberal Party does not have a view. This shows a lack of leadership on the part of those opposite.

This government stands committed to a review and reform of the self-government act. We believe provisions of the act are completely inadequate and undemocratic. Of particular regard is the provision that allows for veto of ACT laws without any reference to the commonwealth parliament beforehand. We believe those provisions that provide for the executive disallowance of ACT statutes to be completely undemocratic and unacceptable. It is not even a provision that exists in the Northern Territory. In the Northern Territory, if the commonwealth are unhappy with a territory law they have to legislate. But apparently that difference is okay for us here in the ACT.

We need to unite and we need to argue for improvements in terms of self-determination in this territory, and it is not aided by the weasel words and the ambivalence of the Leader of the Opposition. He should take a leaf out of the book of Senator Humphries. Senator Humphries has the courage of his convictions. He says that these provisions should be removed from the self-government act. The question is: why doesn’t Mr Seselja think they should be removed as well?

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary question?

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can the Attorney-General advise what steps will be taken to further progress reform of self-government in the territory?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Porter for the supplementary. The government will be working with the commonwealth government to try to convince them of the need to review the self-government act. This is a project the government flagged before the last election. I am delighted that the Greens are now lending their support to this cause because this is a matter that this Labor government has argued long and loudly for for a number of years.

Ever since 2005, we have argued consistently for reform in this area and I am pleased that the Greens are now joining us in that argument. We welcome their support. In

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