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




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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 the government have chosen to talk on the bills. I mean they are very important bills, and yet weve had to sit here and listen to the minister responsible and the former parliamentary secretary responsible give sanctimonious comments and try and justify the Country Liberal Partys lack of action about residential tenancy legislation for now 9 years. It is absolutely appalling. Let me just take up some of the criticisms that we heard from the minister, criticism that this was based on New South Wales legislation. We are constantly having pieces of legislation in here that are templated on other legislation interstate. I mean it is a normal practice. Now, when I set about - and let me just put a little context on this - I have watched, since I have been part of this parliament, the feeble attempts by the government to actually do something with their process of residential tenancy review. I have watched it. We have asked question after question. I have done adjournments on it asking, where is this piece of legislation - an important one. Back in 1990, the member for Nightcliff said: We have to introduce legislation urgently, or start the process because we do not have legislation that is equitable. We do not have legislation that is comparable with any in Australia. We are right behind. So, in 1990 we have the minister responsible saying it is a matter of urgency. I watched the process. We had the working group, we had the working group report. We had the discussion paper, we had the draft legislation that came into this place and then just fell out of it. Any discussion that we had subsequently with, now the Chief Minister, or other relevant ministers who were responsible, met with: Oh, we are working on it. And yet, you can come into this place and criticise me for actually looking around the country and looking at legislation that would work and bringing it in here and saying: Okay, let us look at some contemporary legislation because it is going to be a hell of lot better than the Tenancy Act we have which you could drive a bulldozer through, a road train through, drive anything through. It is totally inadequate. This was recognised by the member for Nightcliff in 1990 and in the weasel words we heard from other people in between. Mr Baldwin: We are updating. We are modernising, we just told you. Ms MARTIN: And we have taken 9 years. You are a disgrace, just a disgrace. And, I have heard this. I mean the Chief Minister now says: Just a few more months. Are you not embarassed to say that? Two years ago, you said: Oh, just a few more months. New South Wales has a million tenancies, they are successful tenancies. They have the balance right. They are not scaring away investors. They are not saying it is all one-sided for the landlord or the tenant, it is a balance, and if we can say there is one jurisdiction that is fairly much fo r... A member interjecting. Ms MARTIN: I know that they are amending their legislation, they are minor amendments. I talked to them about the kind of amendments. But the process of getting legislation in here and being able to debate it on general business days means that, from between the time that you introduce something to the time you actually get to debate it, is the best part of 8 months. M r Baldwin interjecting. Ms MARTIN: The best part of eight months, so any criticism of me saying: But theyre amending their legislation, I know about it. Its a slow process in here when you have to work from general business day to general business day, and they are minor amendments. They are minor amendments. Now, lets take the process of consultation. The Leader of the Opposition has not consulted. What a load of rubbish! Over the last three years, when I have taken a personal interest in residential tenancies legislation, I have talked to the Real Estate Institute, I have talked to individual real estate agents, I have talked to landlords but most importantly - but most importantly - about the concepts and about what is required in residential tenancies legislation. Let me say, most importantly, I have talked to renters, I have talked to tenants, I have talked to many tenants, public and private. M r Baldwin: Yes, weve done that too. Ms MARTIN: Yes, the minister says he has. That was in 1994 though; most of those people would have left the Territory by now with our turnover. What a load of rubbish! What an absolute load of rubbish! So I have talked to tenants - I have talked to tenants, and you mob obviously havent - you just have no idea. So when has the Chief Minister gone out talking to people of Palmerston about their concerns about renting? M r Baldwin: Do you think youre the only one who doorknocks? Ms MARTIN: When have you talked about the concerns about renting? No, you havent, because youd know the frustrations. Youd know them youd know the frustrations of tenants who are spending a considerable proportion ... 2828