Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 10 June 2009



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 10 June 2009

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Parliamentary Record 6


Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012




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 10 June 2009 3178 who were successful in graduating, but it was another solid occasion of witnessing people who are attending educational institutions and performing well. I want to touch on one issue that happened yesterday in parliament. Many people ask me in the street how am I going in parliament and I say I am going all right, it is pretty good, and that we should sit more than 36 days a year and do much more business. In some ways, this parliament is the laughing stock of the country in the number of days we sit, the limited amount of business we get through, and the limited number of people allowed to speak on certain subjects and certain bills. Yesterday was another occurrence, where, as professionals, who earn more than a minimum of $120 000 each, we did not work more than seven-and-a-half hours in the day during our sitting time. Most Territorians who have a full-time job work more than seven and half hours a day. I know that we work outside of those hours, we do extra work and we get up at 5 am to start our days, and all that. But when we are sitting in parliament people generally see that parliament is a joke at certain times. We have had our adjournment debates cut back to five minutes. The government knocked off parliament before 7.30 pm last night. People think that 7.30 pm is late, but keep in mind that for those listeners out there and people who read Hansard, we work from 10 am to 12 pm, have a two hour break, because after two hours of work you need to have a big lunch, and then, listeners and readers, we work from 2.00 pm to 7.30 pm or before 7.30 pm - that was less than seven and half hours that we worked yesterday. That is a disgrace. People in the Northern Territory expect more from their politicians in the amount of work that they do. There are plenty of bills on the Notice Paper; there is plenty we could be talking about. We have omnibus bills combining issues together, so we cannot debate them separately. The only reason for that is there is not enough time in the day because the government does not want to allow us to talk in debate because they will be shamed in so many areas, where they are falling apart as a government. In summarising that point, when politicians are paid a minimum salary above $120 000 a year and cannot do seven-and-a-half hours work a day for 36 days a year, the government should hang its head in shame. It is not the first time it has happened. It happened in the last sittings as well and, if it continues like this the Northern Territory parliament will continue to be a joke. We should be working hard for the people of the Northern Territory, not taking the soft approach. When we were finishing at one, two, or three oclock in the morning, that is when we were working hard, that is when we were pushing the boundaries to make sure our bodies and our minds could work hard for the people of the Northern Territory. Everyone pushes themselves when they go to work and all we do here is sit and twiddle our thumbs a little; people are not allowed to talk on every subject, debates are always gagged, and it is just too easy. We should be working harder for the people of the Northern Territory. It is a real disappointment coming into this place when people are not prepared to work hard for the people of the Northern Territory. It is a disgrace. Dr BURNS (Casuarina): Madam Speaker, tonight I acknowledge the tremendous contribution that people from various ethnic communities have made to the Northern Territory. Last weekend, I had the privilege to work as a volunteer on both days of the 21 st Annual Greek Glenti Festival at the Greek Orthodox community refreshment booth. According to figures I have seen in the NT News about 20 000 people turned up for the two day event. There was a fantastic atmosphere, great music, great food especially the barbecued octopus, some spectacular dancing, olive spitting, plate smashing and all manner of entertainment for young and old. I congratulate the organisers of this biggest and best Glenti so far: the Greek Orthodox community of Northern Australia, President John Nicolakis, Glenti coordinator Lilliane Gomatos, vice president Nikitas Halkitis, treasurer Nicolaos Poniris and secretary Stavros Mostris. All did a fantastic job organising this years Glenti festival. The organisers were ably supported by committee members, Michael Halkitis, Costos Pizanias, Adonios Tsougranis, Mike Reisis, John Mousellis, Arthur Karagiorgos, Costas Zahos, George Kalidinos, Demitrios Taktikos, Skevos Trikolis, Nikolas Saroukos, and Adonis Kantros who were able to help make the event run smoothly. I acknowledge the organisations trustees, Jim Limniatis, Tony Koukouvas and Skefos Tsoukalis. I also acknowledge the work of members of the Darwin City Council and the Kalymnos Sister City community committee including Tony Miaoudis, George Lambrinidis, Nicholas Poniris, and Costa Miaoudis who were instrumental in arranging for the attendance at the festival of the Deputy Mayor of Kalymnos, Philippos Christodoulou. Last weekend I also attended the Latino Northern Territory Association 2009 annual party at the Convention Centre on Saturday night. There were approximately 250 people from the