Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - 02 January 1975



Debates Day 3 - 02 January 1975

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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





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pages 30 - 50

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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-Thursday 2 January 1975 quickly. Perhaps in the committee stage we should look at that section to ensure that the people who have been evacuated may return as quickly as possihle. Perhaps it is a matter of setting a date on it of several weeks or sevepa:l months. The fact is that 25,000 people have been evacuated and a number of ,them are natmally ,going to want to return qukkIy. We must ensure that it happens systematically and at the same time look after the interes'ts of the people of Australia and those that will return. Members: Hear, Hear! Mr TAMBLING: I think the Administmtor's Council is very mindful of the t'ask that it has in front of it. We have al1 been involved in one way or ,ano,ther with the disaster from day one. The member for MacUonnell land the member for Harkly have also been involved in the out of town situation and they are aware of the stresses ,and stmins that f'aced people as they left by road. The other members who were in Darwin have ,be'en ul'ly conversant "lith an the actions that have been taken 'and will now be covered by the legislation here. I lam sure the other members of the Legis}ative Assembly wiN be bringing pressure to Ibear adequately and we will proceed that way. Mrs LAWRIE: 1 do not think it is going tl) come as any surprise to honourable members present when T state that 1 'am most unhappy with the provisions of the bill. We have had 'a natumI disaster rand we ,are in emergent circumstances, not quite as they were this time 'a week ago but still pretty bad. To incorporate into legis,lation a pyramid structure recommended in press reports by Major-Gerrem:l Stretton, giving extremely wide poweTS into the hands of one person, is an :even worse disaster ,and 'an unnatunal disaster at that. The only good provision of this bill is that thi;s person should he under the dire.ction of the Administrator in Council. For that I thank God; at least we will have some citizen control over la situation which has unfortunately devdoped in the :last 7 days and which 1 don't wish to see perpetuated. The citizens of Darwin are being toId quite illegally by various people that they must leave this city, that they can only Teiurn when they 'are allowed, that animals will be taken forcibly and 'shot, and they 'have 37 been even when they have been under care, control and restmint. 1 have seen citizens of this city O'rdered around by lal'moo policemen ,and for this I think we shO'uld all Ibe lashamed. 'If this Legislative Assembly had had the authority to ,which it is entitled these things 'would not have happened. 1 'cannO't see the executive members in this place allowing their citizens to be wrongfully pushed around. A i/targe percentage of the popuLation ,was suffering what 'amounts to shell-shock following CyC'lone TTiacy. 'J1hese people needed reassurance, they needed guidance hut they did nO't need peO'ple assuming authority and pushing them from piHar to post. ,unfO'rtunately, 1 saw this happen in the northern suburbs. All members O'f the Assembly did what they could to help during the last :ghastly 7 days. Along with other members O'f this Assemb1y, 1 'Was engaged in the evacuation of peop'leout O'f the 'area. One thing was paramount in their minds: "Can we come back?" This is their home. 1 ,am talking about the citizenry and 1 said then that noone had the power to' make them 1eave. This is a free country 'and they are free to' return. Honouralble members are well aware of my feelings on this but perhaps for the record 'I should restate them. !Darwin Ibelongs to its citizens. Howev:er welli:ntentioned they may be, it doesn't belong to the ,armed forces or 'any other disciplined force or any 'controller. The sooner the 'people oare raHowed to take charge of their own affairs as they did up Ito 24 December, the sooner Darwin will start to live again. I am frankly more terrified even than 1 was during the cyclone, 'and that is saying something, that Darwin win lose its 'heart 'and its soul. 1 don't ,want to s'ee this Ibecome a single man's camp, a constmctionoarnp, a mining camp, that kind of installation where you have the workers and nothing else. What will happen is that the citizens of Darwin who have sent their f,amilies to s'wfety will only tolerate those conditions for a matter O'f a few weeks then they will start to' leave. Whatever Darwin has lost, don't let it start to lose it citizens 'too. That is what the Administrator's Council has to' watch. The powers are too wide to be channelled into a pyramid structure even allowing for the fact that the Administrator's

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