Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - 23 April 1975



Debates Day 2 - 23 April 1975

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Parliamentary Record 3


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 215 - 227

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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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218 applied entirely to Darwin. It then came in for the whole of the Northern Territory and only 3 people voted against the adjournment of that. It looks like a double standard here: one if it suits the honourable member for Fannie Bay and the other ifit doesn't. Mrs LAWRIE: I remind honourable members that I am only seeking the suspension of standing orders to permit passage of this bill if it is indicated by the Assembly that that is the majority view. It does not necessarily mean that the bill will pass all stages but it certainly empowers the bill to pass all stages. I repeat that the concept of this free area has been before the Assembly for at least one month. The Assembly divided: Ayes 9 Mr Ballantyne MrDondas Mrs Lawrie Dr Letts MrPerron MrSteele MrTambling MrTuxworth MrWithnall Noes 10 Miss Andrew Mr Everingham MrKentish Mr Kilgariff Mr MacFarlane MrPollock Mr Robertson MrRyan Mr Tungutalum MrVale Mrs LAWRIE: I believe all honourable members have had adequate time to study this bill. Clearly, they are now going to have more time but I would look forward to hearing the views of honourable members as representatives of the people in their electorates. I am aware, Mr Speaker, that at the next meeting of the Assembly I shall have the right of reply. Dr LETTS: It is hardly necessary for me to reiterate that this is a personal judgment bill with no party ties to it at all. Within the pattern of social changes which have occurred during the last decade, we have seen the recognition of what I regard as many reasonable freedoms being extended to the community at large. In regard to this particular area of nudity, we have actually seen the creation in Australia of a legal nude beach in South Australia and I think it is foreshadowed that several other states will be pursuing a similar course of action. To that extent, the Northern Territory, which has had this idea in mind for a long time, has been upstaged. Whereas we would have been on our own 12 months ago when the matter was discussed in the old Legislative Council, we can now be seen as belonging with a number of other communities in states which are prepared to DEBATES-Wednesday 23 April 1975 accept under certain conditions the concept of nudity. I rise in support of the bill. I stated my views on the question of nudity and free beaches on a previous occasion in the Legislative Council some 12 months ago and they haven't really changed since that time. I could see merits in the provision of an area such as now proposed by this bill provided it did not occupy space which was regarded as a popular resort used generally by the public traditionally over a period of years, as long as it could be done without the risk of offending the many people who would object to having nakedness thrust upon them, and provided the minority group did not have an exclusive claim to an area set aside for such a purpose. Those are the basic criteria and I think they can be met by this bill. I am happy to see that regulations must be made to declare an area in which nudity is permitted because by that means the regulations applying to any such area will be tabled in this House after careful consideration by the Administrator's Council. They will be examined by the Subordinate Legislation Committee of this Assembly and they will be open to debate and to public representation to any members who feel that the particular area which is set aside in the regulations is not suitable. That is really the public protection which some members have been seeking. It is because of that that I would have little reservation about the rate at which it progresses. The other thing that I am happy about is that the clause refers to a secluded area and the Administrator's Council will have to make up its mind what a suitable degree of seclusion is. In other words, it is not sufficient to set aside an area just because people do not normally use it. It will be interesting to see how the word" secluded" is interpreted but it does provide that people will not inadvertently be offended. I have one question which I put to the honourable member for Nightcliff. How widespread is the eligibility for various areas in the Northern Territory to be declared under this bill? For example, would it be possible to declare an area of a pastoral lease, an agricultural lease, a miscellaneous lease as a secluded area, or would there be convenants in such leases that would prevent this legislation operating there? There may well be throughout the Territory a number of lessees who would be quite happy to have sun lovers,