Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - 09 December 1976



Debates Day 3 - 09 December 1976

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Parliamentary Record 16


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 899 - 949

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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 9 December 1976 Amendment agreed to. Clause 20, as amended, agreed to. Clauses 21 and 22 agreed to. Clause 23: Miss ANDREW: I move amendment 153.11. This has been brought in to ensure the safety of the public. It came from a suggestion that it would be better for the general public if places of business, worship or entertainment were closed down to ensure that the maximum number of people would be encouraged to go to their homes. Mrs LAWRIE: Whilst agreeing with the principle of the amendment, I am not sure that the amendment is worded correctly. I would just ask the honourable member moving the amendment to explain a little more clearly exactly what is envisaged because in moving 153.11 she in fact needs to refer to the coming amendment 153.12. In consideration of. 153.11, one has to consider the effects of 153.12 if it is accepted by the committee. Amendment agreed to. Miss ANDREW: I move amendment 153.12. This is to insert new subc1ause (lA) which gives the Administrator in Council the power to declare that a municipality or a town area should be evacuated or that entry to it should be denied. I feel very strongly that any such decisions, following the experiences after Cyclone Tracy, must be political and made by people who are responsible to the public. As such, I feel that the Administrator inCouncil is the only appropriate body to make such a decision. Mrs LAWRIE: May I just express my reservations still about the way this amendment is drafted and the way in which the b-ill is likely to be assented to. Whilst I realise that the sponsor of the bill is trying to ensure that, if an order has to be made that a town becomes a prohibited place and the people can be evacuated from it or refused entry to it, it shall be a local, 928 political one. I still have the gravest reservations and the gravest doubt that that power should lie anywhere, and I would ask the honourable sponsor if in fact such legislation exists anywhere else in Australia. I still strongly feel that, no matter what the Administrator in Council may say and may order, if people do not wish to obey, in a large municipality such as Darwin you will get civil disobedience on a massive scale. They are just as likely to ignore the Adminiwtrator in Council as they would anybody else, and in such a serious matter as this I do want to know if anywhere else in Australia such provisions can apply. Miss ANDREW: I am not able to give the honourable member for Nightc1iff full assurance, but I can only tell her that my understanding is that such powers exist in Tasmanian legislation. I consider that, with the unique situation of isolation that exists in the Northern Territory, it is important that the powers to evacuate are left in this bill so that, in the event of a necessity to evacuate, it is there. I have explained my reasons for putting that power in the hands of the Administrator in Council. Mr WITHNALL: I have another query. The new subsection (lA) is meant to be a protecting section so that the powers which are conferred upon people in relation to evacuation are not exercised except by the Administrator in Council. The expression is "to a municipality or town". First, disasters happen in other places than municipalities or towns. Secondly, within a municipality such as the municipality of Darwin, apparently the Administrator in Council cannot declare that specific parts of the municipality or town shall be evacuated or that entry should be denied to them. It would seenl that nobody else can take such action. I appreciate that the amendment proposes to make evacuation on a large scale subject to the Administrator's Council decision, but I think evacuation on a large scale can still happen within a municipality without involving the whole of the municipality. If a declaration to evacuate the city of Darwin had been made by the Administrator in Council on 26 December 1974, it would

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