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


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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 71 When people are complaining about the job I am doing or what the government is doing, I say, Why do you not put your hand up? The say, Oh, no way. They are happy to hit you over the head with a complaint but are not happy to say, Maybe I could do a better job than you. Getting back to reforming how our parliament operates, we need to let our community see that we are more than just a bunch of rabble rousers, that we willing to discuss things in a civil way, regardless of which side of parliament we are on. Other issues raised by the Attorney-General were changes to committees. I was hoping to get to Queensland to look at its committee system but I have not yet. In its committee system every piece of legislation goes to a committee, and I think they have portfolio committees. The Chief Minister would have a committee that looks at his legislation and other members of the Cabinet would have committees that look at their legislation. The system in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories in Canada is very similar. A minister brings in a piece of legislation. The committee calls the minister into a different roomit might be like the Litchfield Room and questions the minister about the legislation. The committee might then go out into the countryside, in their case ice and snow, and in our case either wet or drygo out bush if the legislation relates to remote communities and take it to the people. The committee would come back to the minister, who might look at adjusting the legislation, and the legislation would be brought back to parliament. There are other ways of doing things that we certainly need to look at. I would like to see something I put forward a long time ago, which a previous Speaker would not even consider. In the first Clare Martin Assembly there was a business round table in this building. Two IT screens were put up so you could see who was talking and what the topic was. There are not many people in the galleries at the moment, but I have always felt that if you want to help people who come here to listen to a debate, there should be a screen that says the Member for Arafura is speaking and the subject he is speaking on. It might even be something someone types in about a question that has been put forward and who put it forwardsomething so at least when a person walks in here they know what is going on. Unless they dig out the piece of paper down the bottom, they would not necessarily know who I am and they would not know what the topic is. There is nothing wrong with using a bit of modern technologyand it is not that modern, just some screensto help people who come into this Assembly to understand what is happening. I know there is text that goes along the bottom of the TV, but if you came in here you would not know what was happening. I do not think it would spoil the place if it was done properly. The Attorney-General mentioned the Estimates Committee process. I certainly want to look carefully. I would like to know the practicalities of putting all portfolios into one week for the Budget discussion, and then all portfolios into another week to look at the annual reports. That is a lot of portfolios and annual reports. How that will work in a practical way, I do not know. I am very much a fan of annual reports. That is where you find out, sometimes to your own surprise, that is what that department does, or about programs they had running through the year. Then you can ask about the effects of that program. Did it succeed? How much did it cost? It is really important that we look at budgets and annual reports. The departments that write annual reports might at least feel that someone is taking some interest in them and it is not just a report that gets stuck on a shelf or a webpage; it has been looked at. There are probably other things. The Attorney-General discussed the Speakers role, and there are three options here. We did not worry about the three options; we took the first option, which was to elect an Independent. Madam SPEAKER: A mighty fine option too. Mr WOOD: That is good, coming from one of my constituents. You did mention standing orders. In the last sittings, as the Clerk would know, there was a lot of work done on amending standing orders. You are saying we will have another look at the standing orders, and that is the right of the government, but I hope that more about tweeting itnot that I use that word next to the Speaker here; she likes tweeting. Not that kind of tweetingdo the modified standing orders we have need a total revamp or just need some minor changes? It is worth doing but, again, the committee can look at that.