Territory Stories

Bees Creek - Public Meeting 30 October 1998



Bees Creek - Public Meeting 30 October 1998

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Tabled Paper 1230


Tabled papers for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT






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STANDING COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS - PUBLIC MEETING. BEES CREEK PRIMARY SCHOOL 30 October 1998. Mr HATTON: I guess the point Im making is that part of what we have to do is find out why Aboriginal people voted so solidly against it. Thats what stands out. Mr SILVESTER: [Inaudible] left out of the constitution. Ms RAYMOND: Left out of everything! STRIDER: They were less susceptible to the propaganda. Mr RYAN: The reality is that you need to reduce the remote-area vote from 80% down to about 50% and you need to increase the town vote from 50% to around 70%. Thats what you need to do at the next referendum. You would be absolutely suicidal to go into this unless you go in with those views. That would give you a 70% outcome, which would be fair enough. To do that, you need a massive educative program in place, both in town and the remote areas, and that would take years. I dont think 2001 is achievable. Mr SILVESTER: Can I just come back to the process? I dont know about this need for too much extra consultation, beyond a certain point. One thing thats for sure is that the sessional committee did a superb job in consulting. Anyone who has read all that stuff will know that they did it very thoroughly. Its the greatest resource base of what Territorians views were about the shape of a new state, the shape of a constitution and so forth. If you want to telescope all of this into something useful to decide whether we become a state or not, all we need now is a convention to see if we can agree on a constitution and then, of course, the referendums about Do you want to become a state? - and the yes and no vote becomes a big education process and that becomes important - and Do you like the constitution? And if they dont, they vote against it and we go back and do it again like the federal parliament did, like [inaudible] and other states. The real issue now in terms of the process - which ought not to be constrained by any date - is how do we get a constitution, because without a constitution nothing will ever happen. Mr WOOD: Commenting on the statehood education program, can I just cite one thing that people dont know when they say theyd like a state. Its the question of senators. From all that Canberras said, theres no question of equality. We really at this stage are not sure what number of senators we would have. Now, when we vote, I think a lot of people would like to know what were going to have for sure. Im not going into the argument whether we should have 3, 6 or 12. But there are certain issues about statehood that I think people need to be a lot clearer on. Mr SILVESTER: There was no debate at all about the shape of the yes/no decision based upon the shape of the statehood we thought we were going to get. People had no idea how many senators, how many in the House of Representatives, what would be our funding arrangements - nothing upon which to make their decision on whether they wanted to become a state or not. We werent being asked if we wanted to become a state or not, we were asked if we wanted statehood or not, which is kind of significantly different. All of these things need to ultimately have the process of telling people what their choices are, followed by a referendum to determine what they think. And its got to be a staged process, starting with the constitution. 20

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