Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 The roads network is one of the key issues affecting my electorate. I am pleased to note that continued work to upgrade the Victoria Highway has been supported in the budget. More than $9m has been allocated for works on the highway in 1995-96. This route is critical to tourism and agricultural industries in my electorate. Housing is also an important issue in the electorate. I note that almost $1.5m has been allocated for general housing in Katherine and a further $6.3m for Aboriginal housing and serviced sites in the Katherine and rural Top End regions. I anticipate hopefully that a significant amount of this funding will go towards providing improved housing for the people in my electorate. In conclusion, I repeat that I believe this is a positive budget which charts a responsible course for the future. It addresses the major social issues faced in the Territory today, including anti-social behaviour and Aboriginal health. It boosts police numbers and maintains a high-quality education system. At the same time, it provides for significant capital works which will pave the way for the Territoiys continued development and prosperity. I commend the budget to honourable members. Debate adjourned. OMBUDSMAN (NORTHERN TERRITORY) AMENDMENT BILL (Serial 75) Continued from 18 May 1995. M r EDE (Opposition Leader): Mr Deputy Speaker, I made the bulk of my remarks in relation to this bill previously. I will not go over all the points again in great detail. I simply advise members that we will be opposing this legislation. The bill amends the Ombudsman Act to spell out, in respect of particular authorities such as the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Planning Appeals Tribunal, and the Liquor Commission, the limits of the Ombudsmans investigative powers. In general, these bodies will be exempt from the review of the Ombudsman except for cases involving a complaint of inordinate delay. The bill will clarify which bodies are subject to review by the Ombudsman and which are not, or to a limited extent only. There is a principle of law involved here - that is, the function of an Ombudsman is to investigate administrative actions of government officials, not judicial actions. The policy issue is whether or not the Ombudsman should have the power to investigate or review decisions of a large number of bodies and whether those powers should be restricted. There are also different views on when an action is administrative and when it is judicial. There is a further policy matter - that is, the existence of a right of appeal from a decision. It is not grounds to exclude investigation by the Ombudsman. The real legal factor is whether the decision is administrative or judicial in nature. That is a matter on which we will not obtain agreement. It represents a fundamental difference in opinion between ourselves and the government. We believe that, as the courts have found, many of these issues are administrative mechanisms. The government has reacted by saying that they may be administrative, but it will rule them out anyway. The Ombudsman process is such an important check and balance in that whole 3578