Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (10 May 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (10 May 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Thursday 10 May 1990 matter. If the fed~ral government wishes to, it can go over the top of all the states' Attorneys-General and sign anyway. Thus, 1 person can cede the sovereign rights of the people of this country into the hands of the United Nations. I am no great lover of the United Nations. No doubt, the ideas behind it were right, but I believe that today it is in the hands of people from repressive regimes and for whom I have no time. I believe the people of Australia need to be told. The worst of it is that we cannot even get it before the federal parliament ... Mr Bailey: Denis, you make Attila the Hun look like a social worker. Mr COLLINS: That is a ridiculous comment. They will laugh and they will be stupid. If they were reasonable people and if they believed in democracy, they woul d accept that a 11 convention s proposed by the Uni ted Nations should come up for debate before at least the federal parliament so that the media Mr Bailey: Yes! Mr COLLINS: Good, you agree. But, they do not. The federal government goes over our heads. I was told this morning by a member of this House, who has had cons i derab 1 e experi ence, one former Pri me Mi n i ster, Mr Gorton, on one occasion tabled in the Senate 92 conventions that he had signed on behalf of the Australian people, and that was the first we knew about it. It has been going on for a long time. My view is that, as politicians, we are nothing but servants of the people, of our electors. We are put in a position of trust. On most occasions, people in my electorate say that they do not want to know the nitty-gritty of every bill. They have their lives to lead, their businesses to run, their families to look after and they cannot take that interest. They tell me that I have been elected to get on with that job, and that they put their trust in me. But, on this occasion, this is a situation which will erode the rights of every AUstralian, and that is a very strong matter. I bel ieve that it is my duty to rai se thi s matter. I have sought to initiate debate on it in this Assembly because I believe that eVery person in my electorate and every Australian should know the ramifications of thi s. Even if thi s convention conta i ned the most beautiful proposa 1 sin the world, proposals that one could not pick fault with, I still say that we have no right to take away from the voters of Australia the right to indicate, through the ballot, their support or otherwise of poliCies of political parties and of those laws which will control parents and those in charge of children who abuse their trust. That is where it belongs. The sovereignty of individuals is at stake here. A stroke of the pen, a signature from the federal Attorney-General,. can create a situation whereby the matter is out of the hands of the states. I believe that the closer people are to their elected members and the smaller government is - and the states are certainly smaller than the federal scene - the better people feel about it. The people can kick the politicians harder. It is a darn sight more difficult to kick the federal people and get things changed in Canberra. It is easier to do that on the state basis. I appeal to the members of this Assembly, especially those who have had only a superficial look at it, to examine some of the material which is available. At least, let us try to get in on the agenda for discussion in the parliaments of this country. Anything less would be less than 9636