Page 5443 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 16 November 2010

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We have seen two significant examples of inappropriate intervention, one in relation to euthanasia, irrespective of one’s views on this issue, and the other in relation to the right of this Assembly to legislate in relation to the relationships of gay and lesbian couples within our community. These are unacceptable interferences with this place and with our constitutional right to be treated fairly, equally and on the same basis and level as all other Australians.

It is remarkable that there is a view within our federal parliament that the residents of the ACT should not be able to debate and have legislated in their name any issue in a way that, for instance, the residents of Queanbeyan can. It is as simple as that. On this side of the border, you cannot debate, within this place, certain issues. You cannot debate on behalf of your constituents certain issues. Across the border, the people of Queanbeyan expect their elected representatives to debate those issues on their part. It is as simple and as fundamental as that, and all members of this place really should do everything within their power to ensure that Senator Brown’s bill is passed. (Time expired.)

MS PORTER: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Minister, can you update the Assembly on the representations you have made on behalf of the government in this matter? Thank you, Chief Minister.

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Porter for the supplementary question. Indeed, one of the, I think, significant representations that were made by me was made on behalf of the Assembly when in June last year the Assembly passed a motion which achieved tripartisan support to petition the then government to undertake a review, in concert with the ACT government, of the self-government act. I passed that resolution of this place to the Prime Minister with a request that there be such a review. It is a matter of enormous regret to me that that request was not actioned and has not been actioned.

I have re-raised the issue with the current Prime Minister. Indeed, it is a representation which I have now made to each of the last three Prime Ministers. It is a representation I made regularly and continuously to Prime Minister John Howard. I made it to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and I have now repeated that specific representation to Prime Minister Gillard on the need for the self-government act to be reviewed and the willingness of this Assembly and this government to participate in that review.

In addition to that, I have made repeated representations, most particularly in those seven years that I was Chief Minister whilst John Howard was Prime Minister, about something as simple as a review and each of the Prime Ministers was disinclined to pursue amendments of the sort that Senator Brown is now championing. Those are the sorts of amendments that I have requested repeatedly of successive governments. That is why I am being as public in my support for Senator Brown in the decision that he has taken to champion this community’s rights to equal and fair treatment in relation to our capacity to rule ourselves. (Time expired.)

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