Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 2 March 1994



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 2 March 1994

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Parliamentary Record 25


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




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 - Wednesday 2 March 199^ constraints resulting from the high rates of inflation in the mid-1980s, we accept that the options for the incoming Labor government in the Northern Territory are somewhat constrained because this government has simply blown money hand over fist. The plain fact is that government members, including the minister who gave a spirited defence in a 50-page statement that will not get him over the line, have come close to bankrupting the Northern Territory. The people of South Australia lost patience with the government in their state, but not because it was a Labor government. They lost patience with that government because it lost their money and it lost it to the tune of $5500 per capita. This Northern Territory government has lost Territorians' money to the tune of about $9500 per capita. If members opposite think that people in the community do not notice that or that they do not care, they had better think again. When one adds to the parlous state of the Territory's finances the government's desperate attempts to featherbed a Silver Circle and the perception in the community of corruption of the processes of government that this opposition has highlighted time and time again, it will be appreciated that a statement like this and a housing policy from a discredited government will not be accepted. Let us talk about the home ownership rate and the options that are available for Territorians to own their own homes. I remember one of the first meetings of Labor ministers and shadow ministers that I attended included that dreaded left-winger, Hon Tom Uren. I well remember the comments he made at that meeting. He said that owning a share in their own home was the one chance that Australian working people had to build up a capital resource to give them the opportunity to enjoy some of the prosperity available to other Australians. Contrary to the characterisation drawn by the member for Sanderson - and I am not sure of the extent to which the member for Nightcliff agrees with it - that view has always been Labor thinking in this regard. I do not think that the community believes the rabid suggestions to the contrary because they are simply nonsense. Because there are needs in the public housing sector and because we do talk up those needs does not mean that we believe that everybody should be living in public housing. We need to remember something else. The member for Sanderson said that Brian Howe insists that everybody should move into public housing and that his ideal is to move people from their own homes into public housing. In that context, let me address one of the little pressures that we do not experience in the Northern Territory. I refer to the demand for urban land. Anybody who visits Melbourne or Sydney knows that medium-density housing is a priority in those cities. We do not talk about that often in this Assembly, but it is worth considering for a while. In the early 1970s, Gough Whitlam said that Australia was an urban society and that we could no longer regard ourselves as a rural society. That was news to Australians. Even those of us who have lived in cities all of our lives still take pride in our rural bush traditions to some extent. However, the fact is that, in the early 1970s, Gough Whitlam was saying that 70# of Australians lived in cities of 100 000 people or more, and that was correct. I am not sure what the figure is now but I believe that it is time that we pointed out that Australians are pathologically urbanised. If we turn that figure around and say instead that one-third of Australians live in 2 cities, Melbourne and Sydney, it is clear that we are starting to look pathologically urbanised. Too many of us live in cities. What is the response of a sensible national government to that situation? The response of a sensible national government is to say that we need to U 337

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