Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1985)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1985)


Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 - Wednesday 27 February 1985 and found their own local markets. They are not looking for handouts but government encouragement through active research conducted with good quality stock would be of advantage not only to the government in relation to an export industry but also to the goat industry of the future. Mr EDE (Stuart): Mr Deputy Speaker, I aim to speak briefly today, but in a rather regretful tone, about a decision made by this Assembly with which personally I cannot concur. I refer to the 'decision to go ahead with the building of a new parliament house. I can sympathise with the member for Elsey and other honourable members who have had to suffer the lack of facilities in this Assembly for some 10 years or more. I estimate that, over that period, those members have spent in toto something approaching 6 months in this place. Mr Speaker, as a person who has only been a member for some 15 months and spent less than 3 weeks in toto in here, I can sympathise. There are many times when a day here can feel like a month elsewhere. In making my remarks on this subject, I have given particular thought to the staff of this Assembly. Of course, they are here virtually on a full-time basis and I would be the first to admit that their working conditions are not up to today's standards. I would not be making my remarks if I did not believe that the expenditure of funds to build a new parliament house was not a provocative insult to another group in our society. I talk now of all those people who are either unhoused or inadequately housed. I have heard cost figures for the new Assembly ranging up to $30m. Much as I would enjoy a proper restaurant and an office in the same building, I have to acknowledge that the expenditure of funds to provide me with those facilities would be immoral whilst so many thousands of people have nothing. The amount of money we are talking about for a new house of parliament would be sufficient to build some 600 houses at $50 000 each or enough temporary shelters, with showers and basic washing facilities, to house every person in the Northern Territory who is now living in old motor vehicles, under rusty sheets of corrugated iron and so on. ,Inadequate shelter such as I have described is not simply a matter of discomfort. The lack of adequate quantities of water within 20 feet of a person's residence is the major factor in many of the diseases which have assumed almost endemic proportions in many Aboriginal communities. I refer to diseases such as trachoma and gastroenteritis. Pneumonia is a major killer amongst the under-5s and the over-50s. I have said that the expenditure of money on a new parliament house at this stage would be immoral. It would be worse than that, it would be bizarre. It would be a clear signal to the unhoused of where we place our priorities. It would be a monument to a lack of feeling for our fellow men which would cast a pall over its construction and invite bitterness to accompany its completion. Mr Deputy Speaker, when we have broken the back of the housing problems in this Territory, I will applaud the construction of a new parliament house but, until that time, I myself am unable to do anything more than signal that, personally, I will oppose the expenditure of money on the new parliament house for the Northern Territory. Mr FINCH (Wagaman): Mr Deputy Speaker, we are all standing this evening to speak very briefly but I would like to reflect momentarily on some of the behaviour of fellow members in this Assembly. I do so sincerely and genuinely in the hope that some of our members opposite might pick their game up. Mr Bell: Is this about interjections? 83

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