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Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 27 November 2002



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 27 November 2002

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Parliamentary Record 9


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




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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 27 November 2002 referred to it by the relevant minister or resolution o f the Legislative Assembly. Exactly the same. Then the member for Daly had a shopping list of all of the things that this committee should be empowered to look into, and off he went and named a dozen or so recent environmental issues that have been floating around the media and said, Look, if the committee had these terms of reference, could have sent a flying squad in to look at these issues. Let us look at the work of the previous environment committee that they had carriage of over the years. Apart from uranium mining - and they did a great job of that and a huge amount of work went into that-in the 26 years, since 1977, how many other terms of reference were referred to it by the parliament or the minister? In 27 years, how many? The answer is two. Apart from uranium mining, there were two issues: salt water intrusion and Mimosa pigra. They were the only two in 27 years. The member for Daly is saying we should have a flying squad, it can roam into all the issues that are in the media at the moment and, in 27 years, the previous environment committee of this House looked into three issues: uranium mining, Mimosa pigra and Mary River wetlands. So, if they are trying to reinvent themselves over there on the other side of the House as being the new Greenies that are out there championing the environment, actions speak louder than words. The historical record speaks louder than that. Really, this is nothing more than just a cheap stunt from those opposite because they have no commitment to the environment. There was absolutely no commitment to it and, certainly, the previous sessional committees that were established under their term of government had such enormous wide-ranging powers, such enormous capacity to look into issues - all the issues that occurred over those 26, 27 years - and they looked into three issues in 27 years. Our environment committee is certainly going to be a lot more active than that. We will certainly be looking into and have terms of reference from government and from the parliament. I say to members opposite that they have every capacity to bring motions to this House regarding terms of reference for issues of the environment committee, and to convince government and parliament that these issues should be something that the environment committee can look into. The parliament can instruct, as it could under previous governments, by resolution of the Legislative Assembly. We will take that process on openly; we in this House have a commitment to protect the environment. However, given the absolute hypocrisy of the member for Daly, in trying to put a self-referencing term into the terms of reference when they in 27 years looked into three issues, we have picked up exactly the same terms of reference that they had. That is absolute hypocrisy. The parliament can refer issues to it. I am sure over the term of our government we will look at a number of significant issues. If we look at the issue of the environmental protection agency, again, 26, 27 years they had the opportunity to look into that and dared not even breathe its name. We will have a look at how that could or should be structured. I am sure the committee will report back to this House very fulsomely. Actions speak louder than words. I bet London to a brick, by the end of this term of parliament, our environment committee would have looked at more than three issues. Three issues in 27 years under the CLP. A great start for us and we will not be supporting the amendment. Dr BURNS (Environment and Heritage): Madam Speaker, I have consulted with the Clerk and I believe that I have the right to speak to the amendment, and reserve the right to speak to the motion. Madam SPEAKER: That is right. Dr BURNS: I would just like to speak very briefly to this amendment. I think the member for Wanguri said ... Mr DUNHAM: A point of order, Madam Speaker. Given that I would like to speak in this debate, do I have the same right? Madam SPEAKER: No, the mover of the motion has the right to speak to amendments and to any amendment, and to sum up at the end. That is his right. But you can talk in this debate. Mr DUNHAM: But not to the amendment and then to the motion. Madam SPEAKER: You can talk as the minister has just done, to the motion and the amendment, and then when we pass that or fail it, we wait and see what happens next. Whether we have another motion. Dr BURNS: Madam Speaker, just to reiterate: I cannot really add to what the member for Wanguri has said. He set out the case very clearly. There is just one issue about the amendment, one important issue. He talked about the terms of reference that you had. You mentioned the Public Accounts Committee and how the Public Accounts Committee is self-referencing. It is not self-referencing. It is in 3047