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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 September 2018) . . Page.. 3647 ..

like our healthy waterways. I acknowledge the role of the federal government in funding significant healthy waterways projects in the ACT, in conjunction with the ACT government. I also agree about the importance of trees and the tree canopy, waste management, dog control and responsible dog ownership, and play spaces. These are all things we have spoken about many times in this Assembly.

I would also like to thank and congratulate members of the citizens forum for their contribution to the process, the significant commitment that they have made and the responsibility they have accepted in working through these issues on behalf of all Canberrans. Thank you very much for your contribution.

But I do have a question about the process—that is, how it fits with our time-honoured Westminster process of petitioning parliament. The right of citizens to petition the parliament stems from traditions across many civilisations. In the Westminster system it can be traced back to the 13th century, when petitioning the Crown was relied on for redress of grievances.

By the 17th century, when in 1669 the rights of petitioners and the power of the House of Commons to address petitions were affirmed by two resolutions, the form and purpose of petitions had evolved to the style we see reflected in the current petitioning. It is often said that petitions are the most direct form of communication between the public and the house or, in our case, the Assembly.

I am unsure whether the government is now ignoring the longstanding—some might say old-fashioned but still I believe very relevant—process of petitioning in favour of participatory democracy when we have seen that the standard practice in parliamentary processes is of the important role that members play in liaising with citizens and bringing forward issues to the parliament. In fact, there are 24 clauses in our standing orders—clauses 83 to 100C—that relate directly to petitions.

I question whether we are taking away the rights and the role of members and placing this decision-making and liaison with citizens firmly and solely in the hands of the government by running these participatory democracy processes. We have seen petitions come to this Assembly and be rejected and dismissed by the government because they say these decisions are going to be made by this participatory budgetary process.

We on this side have lobbied the government, for example, about playgrounds via petitions: Waramanga and Torrens playgrounds from my colleagues Giulia Jones and Jeremy Hanson; Higgins playground from Mrs Kikkert; Greenway from me. Just this morning we saw a petition from Ms Le Couteur about the fencing of play spaces. So are we abandoning petitions in favour of the government’s new discovery of the participatory budgeting process? Is it just a new name for something that has been around for centuries, the time-honoured Westminster tradition of petitioning?

In no way am I trying to take away from the important contribution of the people who participated and who came forward with these fantastic recommendations about waterways, trees, waste management, dogs and play spaces. These are important issues that we discuss over and over again. These people have given up significant

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