Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999

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Parliamentary Record 14


Debates 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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DEBATES - Wednesday 17 February 1999 have saved by doing that can go back into your community for projects that you see as most important to your community. So lets stop the negative stuff about all this. Opposition members in particular represent communities that most of all would benefit from it. In the next century, do we want to stay treading the same treadmill all the time, not going anywhere? Isnt it far better for us to use a new approach and see if we can do it better? Members opposite seem to be saying: The CLP government has given us this process for 20 years and its not very good. Now theyre putting up another proposal and we dont think thats going to be any good. I think thats crazy. That 20 years gave them really good experience in local government. Would you like to go back to 25 years ago when it was the NT Administration and they had no say in it? We need them to be involved and we need them to progress. Mr Rioli inteijecting. Mrs BRAHAM: You should be saying this is a good system. Mr Rioli: I said we supported it. Mrs BRAHAM: It didnt sound as though you supported it. You read your speech. In fact, I was surprised because I thought you of all people understood what we are on about. Mr Rioli inteijecting. Mrs BRAHAM: I dont believe you came across that way. It sounded as though you were saying this is not a very good idea. You were saying bad things about the situation that has lasted 20 years, you were worried about fewer councillors, you were worried about change. You sounded as though you were frightened to take on change. But change is important and change should be handled in a positive way and change should be carefully handled so that people dont get wary of it. I think you should get out there and say to your community councils that this is a good idea and they can benefit from it. Members inteijecting Mrs BRAHAM: No, this is what the community councils want. Thats where youre getting it mixed up. Go out and listen to them. Many community councils have already indicated that they would prefer to see a system that is more effective. I think that is your problem. Youre only seeing it from a political viewpoint. Youre grandstanding as usual and making all these statements, but if you look at the guts of whats been proposed, its a good idea. I am quite sure that, with the cooperation of the many, many groups involved, we can come up with a system that will benefit Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal people. And thats the aim of the whole process. We should all be working together for it. I hope members opposite will join with us in making sure that we can get that message across to their communities, that this is a good thing for them and that we will all benefit from it. Motion agreed to; statement noted. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION BELL (Serial 121) Bill presented and read a first time. Ms MARTIN (Opposition Leader): Mr Speaker, I move that the bill be now read a second time. Honourable members will be aware that Labor has presented other freedom of information bills to this House before. Twice my predecessor, the member for Barkly, moved to have freedom of information legislation implemented. In 1996 an FOI bill was presented. The bill was not voted upon. Before another General Business Day occurred the former Chief Minister took the House off to an early election. This was a shame, because her bill gave rise to much interest in the community and in this House. She received a number of questions without notice on it from honourable members. Her bill was reintroduced and voted down by the Country Liberal Party - surprise, surprise! - last year. I pick up where my predecessor left off and present my own bill today. The need for freedom of information legislation has not changed - if anything the case is getting stronger by the moment. The independent Ombudsman has reinforced the sound argument in favour of an FOI bill. Members of the community - and in recent times the business community - are screaming for it. Even members of the Country Liberal Party are starting to advocate an FOI act. Labor believes: our aim ought to extend as far as possible the right of Territorians to have access to information held by the Northern Territory government; the public interest is served by promoting open discussion of public affairs and enhancing governments accountability; the community should be kept informed of governments operations, including in 2786