Debates Day 3 - 02 January 1975
Parliamentary Record 1
Northern Territory. Department of the Legislative Assembly
Debates for 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT; 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
pages 30 - 50
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
42 I hope this bill wHi be met with approval by members of this Assembly and I know the Channel 9 telethon organi:sation expeots that Its funds win be going to this board. I know that many mayors expeot that their funds wiII be going to it. I think that it must be set up to keep Darwin in good repute ,with the rest of Australia. Dr LETTS: It may well be this Assembly is wasting its time in going through the consideration of this particular bill because I have good reason to beIieve our bill will be denied assent. I am not interested in wasting the time of members or wasting the energies or efforts of those citizens of Darwin and the N orthem Territory who are represented here in any sort of political dogfight. There are so many more important issues around us today than smail matters of pol]tics. I should tell honouNlible members of the events that have led up to this, so they may judge for themselves the best course of action. The idea for t:his bin came about approximately a week ago when members of my group had been having disoussions with representatives of the depM"tment about a bill which we previously had under considemtion, the Emergency Powers Bill. Soon after we left that meeting, we considered the matter of the funds. Even then the news was coming up about people collecting money all over Australia. We recognised that there would be some necessity for some way to handle these funds. We discussed the advantages of setting up legislation to establish a ,trust account which would be administered by trustees of the people of the Northern Territory, with a good representation of eleoted people of ,the Northern Territory, particuIarly citizens of Darwin. I had the immediate opportunity to discuss this idea with both the Minister for the Northern Terr,itory and the Secretary of the Department of the Northern Territory who at that time had not thought about funds or the administration of funds. Hoth con~idered it a good idea and both more or less told me to proceed. I then had some words with the draftsman and we didn't proceed actively with the drafting until after la~t Monday because we knew there was going to be a Cabinet meeting and we knew the Prime Minister was going to make a statement about cer DEBATES-Thursday 2 ],anuary 1975 tain matters .conc'erning this d~saster following that OaNnet meeting. I listened to the 'Prime Minister's statement last Monday and I could find nothing in it whioh suggested that the course of action which had ,been proposed for setting up this type of board of trustees would cause conflict. l1he following morning, when the draftsmen were hard at work on this bin, I thought the time had come to have some discussions with the Minister's representatives. I sent a communication asking ,that the Secretary of the Department or one of his senior officers who is working in the field of legisIation might come and see where we were at and have some disoussions. I got a message hack to say that the secretary and the officer concerned were too !busy Ibut if I were to come around there at 3 o'dock that afternoon, I would be able to gain audiencea!bout this matter. This seems to be happening constantly these days. 'l 'went to the mountliiin and, having arrived there, I found that the decision had been taken, that Vhe Minister was going to set up his own fund and appoint his own people to it. Without wishing to denigrate any of ,the particular hodieswhich may 'be represented, I don't know how it is to be done. There were no detliiils ,about how the Minister and the Department of the Northern Territory planned to set up and operate this committee at all, except that the name of one fairly senior public servant was given as the pl'Oobruble chairman. I then informed the secretary that our idea was a better one, that it was certainly the original one ,and that we would proceed along ,the path and see how far we got. That is what we have done. Today at lunchtime we had a press announcement notifying the public ,of the setting up of a committee with certain people ment~oned by name and others to 'be fined by certaan organisations. I feel somewhat sad and bitter about the situation as it st!l!nds because it was only this morning that I had my most recent discussion with the Minister for the Northern Territory on this matter. While he was convinced that his course of action w,as right and he intended to pursue it, he provided me with no further details than I
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