Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 19 October 2016



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 19 October 2016

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Parliamentary Record 1


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




pp 65 to 124


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 19 October 2016 67 We saw rallies against the lease of Darwin port, but, sadly, we did not even have a chance to have our voice heard. It was ignored, and the lease happeneda 99-year lease that will never see the port in our hands for most of our generation. The first thing anyone knew about it was a media announcement. Apparently the Australian Government was in the same boat as Territorians on this issue. We knew it was a bad decision, but the government would not listen to Territorians. Over the last four years we saw dozens of rallies against power price hikes and the split of Power and Water. We heard the Member for Port Darwin speak passionately yesterday about what privatisation meant for him, with his young family in a small town in country South Australia. We need to hear those wide-reaching stories before decisions are made. We need to hear the voices and stories of Territorians through our local members, and that is what we will ask this committee to look into. How can we best ensure the voices of Territorians are heard as we consider legislation? Yesterday we heard from the Chief Minister that we need to think beyond four-year electoral cycles, because that it not how the world works. We need to ensure the decisions being made in this House will genuinely benefit Territorians into the future. We must be an open and transparent government, because Territorians demand it. We know this; we saw it just a few months ago, but we are under no illusions about how Territorians treat poor behaviour from their elected representatives. We want to model best practice in the Territory, not be decades behind the rest of the country. To tackle the problems facing the Northern Territory, we have to be so much better than the antics we have seen over the last four years. Territorians know this and they expect this, and we are under no illusions. They will remind us if we fall short of their expectations. We heard strongly from Territorians in response to our Reforming our Democracy discussion paper, which this committee will be asked to consider. We want to make it clear that the government is very open in regard to this committee. We have appointed the committee and will be taking its recommendations and thoughts with an open mind. We know we do not have all the answers on this side of the House. We have ideas, but we want the committee to look into them and report back to us. Every one of us in this House brings a lifetime of experience, and I am sure every one of us has ideas on how we can improve and promote the culture of inclusion in decision-making within this Legislative Assembly. The committee will consider such options as changes to committees to provide a higher level of scrutiny on legislation. We saw bills repeatedly rushed through on urgency in the last Assembly, with little opportunity for genuine consultation or scrutiny. Our community expects better. We have a number of key stakeholders, groups and individuals in the Northern Territory who are passionate about the decisions we make in this House. We want to provide the opportunity for them to come into the committee and provide feedback. We need to rebuild that trust, and bringing Territorians on the journey is an important part of that. We need to share information and work together with stakeholders, individuals, the opposition and the Independents so we can end up with the best legislation and outcome for Territorians. We want to be a government that listens to the voices of Territorians. We want to set up frameworks and establish a recognised process so we will not see again what we saw over the last four years, with rushed decisions and legislation not being appropriately scrutinised. We want a framework and a system in place that allows for consultation and input, not because it is the right thing to do, but because it is the smart thing to do. What happens in this Assembly ripples out and impacts on the whole Territory. Questionable decisions were made left, right and centre. Public servants and their work were ignored and devalued. The chaos of the last four years has damaged confidence and the economy. We need to restore confidence and have some input, and this committee would look into how that would be possible. We have ideas, but we are open to the committee sharing its thoughts. We have to do a better job here, and this is the first step. The committee will also consider the other options put forward in our Reforming our Democracy discussion paper; some of the options we have already acted on, including the election of an Independent Speaker, which this government is proud to have delivered in the Northern Territory. During the last parliament we saw the extraordinary attempt to oust you from the role, Madam Speaker. We were only reminded of that yesterday when the Member for Nelson said it was your third election as Speaker. You lost that role for a few hours in the middle of the night. Sorry, I believe it was the Leader of

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