Page 477 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 8 March 2011

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No, what happens? Mr Hanson rabbits away in the background like a little Maltese terrier. I suggest that if he wants to act like Gary Humphries, if he wants to look like Gary Humphries, stand up for the ACT like Gary Humphries and stop being a poor imitation of him. They actually sit here, enjoying the partial sovereignty that we enjoy here, but they are scared to go to the next step.

Some whole-scale revision of the self-government act is necessary to grant full sovereignty. We agree with that. But, I ask, should it be a case of “or” or “and”? I suggest to you that it should be “and”. We can move that little step forward and still go and do the rest of it.

Self-determination is something that Australia as a nation has tried to ensure in nations overseas. It has advocated just this in the north African crises currently being played out and has vigorously advocated this in UN debates. But why then does the national parliament deny the same right to its capital territory? What makes them think that one idiot minister or idiot senator from Queensland or some right-wing idiot Labor senator from South Australia has much more wisdom than the collective body of representatives here? What makes them have the temerity to suggest that?

Then, on top of that, somebody says, “We will put the whole collection of these idiots together because they will know what is better for our people than we do.” I reject the right that they are giving themselves to tell us what to do. Our people in the ACT determine that. They have put people in here and they have taken them out of here. They have legislated for the good of the people here for 20 years. We have matured as a parliament, I had thought, and I do not see why we need change it.

The real reason behind all this is that that little minnow, the ACT, might just legislate in favour of euthanasia or civil unions. That little minnow might have the courage, in fact, to be a bit more socially progressive than those staid conservative states. Perhaps they are afraid that we are a little bit too educated, too affluent. In fact, we are so educated we know the difference between progress and conservatism.

Quite frankly, I do not care who it is that is bringing the action into the federal parliament. I do not care whether it is Labor, Liberal, Green, whoever. I thank them for doing that because we cannot. And other people that we put in those chambers have not had the courage to get up there and do it. We have had people like Senator Humphries squawking like blazes since he left this place about denying sovereignty to the ACT. And what have we seen? He has threatened to cross the floor. Yes, that was when he was a backbencher. Let us see whether he has still got the guts as a frontbencher. I warrant you, Madam Assistant Speaker, that he is going to have more of an eye on his job than he has on the sovereignty of the ACT. I bet you that is the case.

I applaud the first part of the Liberals’ amendment and I deplore the other two because they are just putting it off, putting the inevitability off. And the cackling laughter of Mr Hanson does not do this debate any justice at all.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.03): Madam Assistant Speaker, under standing order 46, I seek your leave to make a personal explanation.

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