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
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 27 February 1985 Mr FINCH: Yes, it is good stuff, I can tell you. One of the matters I want to speak' about later on is that of interjections. In fact, I welcome them. It shows that our opposition members have not gone to sleep yet. When I was asked originally why I entered politics, I was able to answer in 2 ways. The first, constructively, by saying that, despite the fact that I am a backbencher in this Assembly, I have an opportunity to contribute and participate in the policy and development of the Northern Territory. I can do that through committees and through policy discussions and by direct lobbying to ministers and the Chief Minister himself. He is only too pleased to see us all. I am able to justify my entry into this particular occupation even despite my previous cynicism towards political life and politicians generally. I think that cynical view is shared by many professionals and by the community at large, and I guess for somewhat good reason when you look at the national press and the behaviour of parliaments in Canberra, Brisbane and elsewhere. But I can justify my entry into the political scene in the Northern Territory by positively admitting that I see and interpret this scene as being a far more civilised atmosphere in which to work for the benefit of our community. That is why I have risen to speak. I am concerned that, over the last 12 months, there have been a number of times when members of the opposition have used the opportunity to denigrate members of the backbench on this side of the Assembly. They do so usually with a slight chuckle or a ridiculous interjection which really is not constructive at all. In the last 2 days, the Leader of the Opposition made front page news and he did so in a manner that does not do the reputation of this Assembly any good at all. I would like to quote from the last 2 front pages of the NT News - final paragrar.hs in both cases. It is a bit unfortunate that the author of the 2 articles did not run out of room and put him on the back page because that is where he belongs. I will quote from.the NT News of Tuesday 25 February. The article finished: 'Opposition Leader, Mr Bob Collins, caused a ripple of amusement throughthe crowd when he arrived at the Assembly. Those waiting for the arrival of the Administrator . ' - and I might add that the Administrator is the senior representative in this Territory and it was a very formal occasion - ' . outside the building who were within earshot of Mr Collins heard him say, as he approached the group of CLP members, "I see all the clowns are here. All we need now is the ringmaster".' He said the same thing again inside this Assembly. I am quite happy for interjections from the members opposite because that is exactly how I would like to play the game. Unfortunately, one needs to try to maintain some sort of civility in this place. The article today in the NT News said in its final paragraph: 'In winding up the debate, Mr Collins referred to Mr Tuxworth and government members as Captain Rabbit and his new-age thinkers'. Brilliant. Mr Tuxworth: He won't offend me. Mr FINCH: Mr Deputy Speaker, last year I rose to comment regarding a statement made by the Leader of the Opposition. In effect, he had said that the government backbenchers did not have a brain between them. That is fair comment and it is all good stuff off the shoulder but, when We get it consistently, I start to wonder why the Leader of the. Opposition has such a phobia about intelligence and brains. As I pointed out on that occasion, I am confident that, being surrounded by an intellectual vacuum, I can quite understand his frustrations. These sorts of remarks do absolutely nothing for the credibility of this Assembly. Aside from the reference to circuses, the 84
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