Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 19 October 2016
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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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 19 October 2016 72 There are probably some other issues. I have mentioned to a number of peoplethis is why it is worth travelingthat sometimes in Nunavut and Northwest Territories, young high school students work as pages. In the federal parliament there are people who take water around to members of parliament. In Nunavut, high school students are selected to do that job, and they are selected on the basis of turning up to school on a regular basis. They come from all over those territories. They actually have a cloakroom, so as people come in they take their cloak. They have earpieces where the language is translated, because in Nunavut the people speak in Inuktitut. They also pass messages. If one of the ministers here wanted to get a message to the Speaker, they would put their hand up holding a little sticky paper and the page would take it to the Speaker. The pages bring water to the table, which involves young people in the parliamentary process. It also rewards them for going to school. I thought it was a great idea. In Nunavut they dress up in a traditional costume like you see Inuit people wear. In the Northwest Territories it is a little more Western, but they also have their own style of dress. It is something we could look at to encourage young people to take an interest in this parliamentary process. The committee will look into those issues I raised in more depth. It is good to hear that if the committee cannot get all the work done in the allocated time there is the ability to take it a little further. As the minister said, you do not want to rush things if you want to ensure you get a good outcome. Madam Speaker, I welcome the setting up of this committee. I hope the people on it will participate and perhaps go into the community to ask people what they think about parliament. It might be good to get some feedback. A simple question is, What do you think about parliament? I could guess what the answers would be in some cases. Our goal might be to change the publics view of what this place is about. Hopefully the committee will be the start of that. Mrs LAMBLEY (Araluen): Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak for the first time in the 13th Northern Territory parliament. I congratulate the Attorney-General for bringing on this motion to set up a select committee to reform the Northern Territory parliament. There is a need for reforms across many sectors of our parliament. On 28 August, 25 people were elected to this 13th parliament. Looking around this honourable Chamber today, it is very different to the way it was years ago when this parliament was first formed. We have seen a dramatic change in the political environment in the Northern Territory. Two members of the CLP now form the opposition, which is unprecedented. Who would have thought, years ago, that could even happen? We got down to as low as a four-member opposition a few years ago, but to get down to a two-member opposition is bordering on the absurd. To have five Independent members of parliament within the seven non-government members ranks is, again, unprecedented. We need to look at reforming all the things the Attorney-General mentioned. We need to look at every part of the processes of parliament to ensure we include people at every step. I agree that every piece of legislation that comes before the Northern Territory parliament should be scrutinised by a committee and the community. The Member for Nelson mentioned the Queensland Parliament; I think it has a much better system than we do, and I would embrace the opportunity to introduce that system in the Northern Territory. We do not have an upper house, which makes a big difference. Over the last four years we have seen numerous pieces of legislation rammed through parliament very quickly, and I was responsible for at least one of those. A few years ago I was responsible for pushing through the Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Act, which we concluded at about 2.30 am one morning, just before the beginning of the 2013 financial year. It seems like a century ago. The government has the vast majority in this Chamber, and it could choose to do that. I respect you for reflecting on this to allow proper scrutiny and democracy to play out. But you will find yourselves in situations, from time to time, where you want and need to rush things through. You will want to pass legislation to improve the lives of Territorians, or at least that is how you will see it. It will be interesting to see how you manage those situations. Sometimes you have to move quickly as a government; you cannot drag your heels. The select committee will consider how that can be done on an as-needed basis. Including Territorians every step of the way can only be a good thing. I have struggled, over the last six weeks, in coming to terms with how I will operate as an Independent in this Chamber. I realise there are probably far more significant things to talk about today, but we are at the beginning of this parliament, so these things have to be nutted out. We, the five Independents, waited six weeks for the Chief Minister to provide us with what he called adequate resourcing to operate in this parliament. On Monday we were advised the adequate resourcing would comprise two additional librarians
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