Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 9 May 2017



Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 9 May 2017

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Parliamentary Record 5


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




pp 1623 to 1686


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 Tuesday 9 May 2017 1665 We will await the motion on estimates and how it is structured; I do not want to enter that debate now. We are happy with the report and the way it is. We will be interested to see which recommendations the government will not accept. I think it will probably accept most of them. Whether they end up being referred to the Standing Orders Committee, I think, is acceptable. I support the report. Mr PAECH (Namatjira): Madam Acting Deputy Speaker, I wish to add my two bobs worth to this discussion. Opening parliament to the people was a process that I was fortunate enough to come into half way through. I acknowledge that a significant volume of work was done by my parliamentary colleagues prior to my commencement on that committee. Opening parliament to the people is an issue that is extremely important to everyone in this Chamber and the wider Northern Territory. Engaging with those we rely on for support is vital in a modern world and an ever-changing process. That is the process we are seeing in this day and age in parliaments right across the country and the world. What a modern parliament looks like and how a modern parliament works is very important. Parliamentarians are in an ever-changing environment and we, as elected members, must evolve and change if we are to remain engaged with our electorates in contemporary parliaments into the future. It is vital to include young people in this process, as well as those living in remote and rural areas, because parliament is not just a place where we send people to talk about issues, but is a place in which we represent our constituents to make sure they are being looked after. I think any way we can engage our constituents to see us in the parliament fulfilling that role is a good one. Today there is a growing expectation of active involvement in community engagement. People expect us to be active participants in public debate, and they should expect that. Territorians want their voices to be heard and they want their opinions considered. This report has considered many aspects of how we can enhance their experience with this parliament. In modernising the parliament there is an obligation to ensure we enable and create an environment that is welcoming of people, a place to educate and inform the public about the current roles and mechanisms of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, and engage people in the accountability process and the information of public policy. Only parliament itself can modernise parliament. That is a role we have undertaken on this committee to ensure we do this in an appropriate manner. I also extend my sincere thanks to the committee staff for their hard work and dedication to ensuring the report was done on time and dealt with in the utmost professional manner. I thank my parliamentary colleagues, the Members for Fong Lim, Sanderson, Karama, Nelson, Daly, Araluen and Stuart for all their hard work and dedication as members on this committee. Like the Member for Sanderson mentioned, the report goes into detail about a number of reforms that need to occur in this Assembly. One of those is the acknowledgement of country. We meet on Larakia Nation land every day, and I believe we will be sending a strong message back to our first peoples of the Northern Territory if that acknowledgement occurs every day in line with the prayer. I think there are a number of significant proposed recommendations being put forward, which I hope are being considered. There are a few items that have been referred to the Standing Orders Committee. I welcome those items going to the Standing Orders Committee for some robust discussion. As a committee, we engaged in many robust discussions about a number of the recommendations and proposals. I thank the Leader of Government Business, the Member for Nightcliff, for her passion, drive and commitment to ensuring this parliament is open to the public and reformed to the best of its ability. Leader of Government Business, I offer you my sincere appreciation and thanks for some really robust discussions. I agree with the recommendations put forward by the committee and the Leader of Government Business. I welcome the matter of petitions being referred to the Standing Orders Committee. The Member for Sanderson and the Leader of the Opposition have also raised this as an issue. As a member who represents regional, remote and rural parts of the Northern Territory, this is a matter I advocated very strongly in the committee. Many communities in the great electorate of Namatjira have very small but significant populations. There are a number of communities that consist of anywhere from 50 to 100 to a couple of hundred people. It is important that the matter of petitions be referred to the Standing Orders Committee to discuss what would be considered an appropriate way to ensure petitions are read