Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




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 - Thursday 1 May 2003 understand where I was coming from; but that call was never returned. However, I want to end on a positive note. I cannot possibly refer to individuals who helped because I will always forget someone; there will always be someone who might be a little insulted. But, you and I know the work of many of the people. I want to single out Caroline Angel who came on to my staff part-time a few weeks ago to help us through. Her cooperation with the Deputy Clerk has been fantastic. To all the other staff, I know you have done a huge job - you have done a great job and it has not finished because tomorrow is Youth Parliament. I just place on record for people who will be here at Youth Parliament - and I know you have all been invited - bills that these students will be debating. This one is from the Nyangatjatjara College; it is the Inhalation o f Petrol Fumes Bill. It is to reduce damage to health, property crime, violence and community disruption arising from the inhalation of petrol fumes. This one is the Youth and Community Service Bill; to reduce the incidence of substance abuse by Territory youth by providing for education, community sport, and requiring offenders to spend time performing constructive community work. These students could tell these people in this House a few things about how to get on with it. The Rights o f Adults to Donate Organs Bill; a bill to provide for organ donation for adult Territorians. The final one they will be debating is the Airport Security Bill, relating to security at airports within the Northern Territory. Our students are going to be in here debating those responsibly and sensibly. It would be a good thing for all the members in this House to come and listen to them; you might even leam something from them. You might leam that the youth of today has something to say. I said that in my earlier speech: you are not listening; it is time both sides started listening to our youth. Mr Deputy Speaker, finally, I thank all those members who have been so cooperative. I thank those members who have been so enthusiastic in the way they have approached the sittings here in Alice Springs. I also thank the township people of Alice Springs who came along and supported it. Without that, it would not have been the great success that it has been. I must finally say to the media: thank you, you have also done a good job for us. Members: Hear, hear! Mr REED (Katherine): Mr Deputy Speaker, at the outset, I would also like to also express my appreciation to the Hansard staff and everyone who has given the commitment to prepare for this sittings in Alice Springs. They have been successful and have, as demonstrated by the people who have attended, been appreciated. From that point of view, it could be said that they have been successful, and that is very good. Across the Australian populace, there is a very broad ignorance of politics and how parliaments work. That is probably best demonstrated by some of the remarks made by the member for Braitling, the Speaker, regarding the lack of understanding the people had, for example, in relation to the 42-minute debate that ensued before the adjournment last evening. As a member for over 16 years and, indeed, the longest serving member in this House, I find it somewhat surprising that the Speaker should make some of the remarks that she just has. She has a right to make those remarks, but all members of this parliament have an equal right to express their view. That some members in recent weeks have expressed their view and those views does not comply with the views of some members - in this case the member for Braitling - should not be a matter o f concern because that is what this parliament should be about. This parliament is about the opportunity for the 25 elected members to come here on each sitting day and to express their views, as is their democratic right and as is the expectation of Territorians who elected them to their various constituencies. It is the very heart and foundation o f our democracy and it is something that we should all cherish. Given that a Speaker should be bipartisan, and that we have just had the presentation from the member for Braitling, the Speaker, of a speech which was verging on - if not partisan - 1 fmd it, very disturbing, that that should be the case. Members inteijecting. M r REED: I hear chuckles now. I will have my say and you can have something to say to the alternative if you wish. It is very important that speakers are not partisan. I am not accusing you, Madam Speaker, the member for Braitling, of undertaking that, but I believe that you veered very close to doing so. That is a matter of concern because, in a democracy an opposition, in particular, has a responsibility to ensure that alternative points of view are enunciated and that, where necessary, the activities of the government are challenged. We were of the belief, while we strongly supported the sittings being held in Alice Springs, that there were questions of priority in relation to the expenditure and the cost of them that should rightly be asked. Indeed, they were asked but not answered. Had the Chief Minister, for example, been forthcoming in 3998