Territory Stories

Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 12 August 1998



Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 12 August 1998

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Parliamentary Record 8


Questions for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




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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QUESTIONS - Wednesday 12 August 1998 quiet while ministers provide answers to questions which opposition members ask. The opportunity was provided, through a process that was representative of an enormous range of community groups, business organisations, land councils and the like, to participate in the forum that was held in this very Chamber. We will be considering the deliberations of that constitutional forum during the course of these sittings. I ask the Leader of the Opposition to look to the future. Members opposite should look at what is ahead of us. They should look at the opportunities that now lie before Territorians as a Northern Territory of Australia. We have the opportunity to progress this Territory to statehood in less than 2 years. We should grasp it, run with it, and be positive. Members opposite should not create obstacles. They should get out and sell it and participate in it, and they should prepared for the debate tomorrow. There will be a debate today on a referendums bill to enable Territorians to participate in a referendum. The Leader of the Opposition and her members will be able to contribute to that debate. Tomorrow, for nearly the whole day, the debate will be dedicated to matters relating to constitutional development and the advancement of the Territory towards statehood. Members opposite will have the opportunity to be full participants in that process as representatives of their constituents across the Northern Territory. I ask them to approach it positively and to be prepared for it. They should do their jobs and represent Territorians properly because we have a marvellous future ahead of us, and this government will be part of it. Territorians want to be part of it. Members opposite are welcome to join us. Statehood - Senate Representation M r BALCH to ACTING CHIEF MINISTER In light of overnight comments by the Democrats and the Greens on yesterdays historic announcement that the Northern Territory will become the seventh state of Australia, does the Acting Chief Minister believe the Senate will block federal legislation which will deliver statehood to Territorians? ANSWER Madam Speaker, sadly the position in relation to Senate representation seems to be that Democrat Senator Allison is opposed to additional Senate representation for Territorians. I think that is cause for great sadness. From the fact that she is prepared to proceed down this path and, not only that, but that she should request that Territorians be allowed the option of proportional representation in the new state parliament thereby interfering in the way that the Territory should be run, makes clear what we might expect from the Democrats if they ever got into government. However, I think there is little chance of that. As far as the Greens comments are concerned, unfortunately the Territory Greens seem to have taken the Beazley line. Territorians may have statehood provided the Greens are in government. Sadly, that was the line that the federal Leader of the Opposition took last week in his comments about Territory statehood. What is important here is the comment by the Labor candidate for the Northern Territory for the forthcoming federal election on ABC radio this morning. It is interesting to note that he made the point that the Territory will not achieve statehood without the support of the minor parties. That suggests to me that there is a question over his support for statehood for the Northern Territory. The comment made by the aspiring candidate was: It will have to be a bill which is passed by the federal parliament and that will require bipartisan support and the support of the minor parties. An incredible welcome was provided here yesterday, when the galleries were filled by Territorians who took the opportunity to come here to witness the historic event and hear of the commitment made by the Prime Minister, together with the Chief Minister yesterday in Canberra, that the Territory would achieve statehood in January 2001. That was the major lead item on news bulletins across the Northern Territory and across the country last night. It was featured at length on the 7.30 Report and it was welcomed everywhere. It was interesting to note that it was reported on the ABC news bulletin at 7.30 am today that the news was welcomed by everyone. It has provided a great opportunity for Territorians to advance their cause and the Labor Party were the party spoilers. Its members were the only people who grizzled yesterday and who could find a negative in all of the comments that were made by Minister Somlyay, the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister and members on this side of the House. Old Grizzlebones over there had to find some negatives in it, and ended up being reported on the radio this moming as the party spoiler in relation to statehood. I would like the Leader of the Opposition to tell whether she enthused yesterday by the commitment given by the Prime Minister, and was she enthused sufficiently to represent Territorians? Did she become enthusiastic enough to write yesterday to the federal Labor Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley and implore him to commit himself unquestionably to supporting the statehood 279

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