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Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)


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




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 - Tuesday 27 February 1990 Mr Speaker, would welcome comments on the committeels report. Honourable members will note from the contents of the report that the committee has given detailed. consideration to a number of difficult issues associated with police powers in the Northern Territory. On behalf of the government, I thank the members of the committee who give of their time voluntarily, often at the end of a very hectic day, to consider various matters associated with police powers. I commend the interim report to honourable members. Mr Speaker, I move that the Assembly take note of the statement. Mr BELL (MacDonnell): Mr Speaker, I want to make a couple of comments about the statement just made by the Attorney-General. I am absolutely amazed that an issue as contentious as the investigatory detention powers which gave rise to the creation of the review committee should be the subject of a statement which the Attorney-General has not even bothered to circulate in advance, let alone given the opposition any opportunity to contribute to the debate in a meaningful way. Mr Manzie: Why don1t you sit down so that you can make your comments after you have read the report? Mr BELL: I am simply saying that the practice in this House has been to give the opposition some opportunity to be informed in advance of which statements are to be made in relation to which subjects. Mr Manzie: You have just shot yourself in the foot. Mr BELL: For the benefi t of the Attorney-General, who shoul d not be interjecting in that fashion, I point out that he has made it very difficult for the business of this House to be carried out ina reasonable fashion on such a contentious.matter as this. Mr Manzie interjecting. Mr SPEAKER: Order! Mr BELL: Well, tell him to shut up. Mr SPEAKER: Order! The. member for MacDonnell could have adjourned the debate and spoken on the matter at some other time. As I understand it, that was the intention of the Attorney-General. He has not made a ministerial statement. He has tabled a paper. All the member for MacDonnell needed to do was to adjourn the debate. He could have then read the report and made comment on it at a later date. Mr BELL: Mr Speaker, as what might be called the father of this House, you have occupied every position on the floor of this House. You will be we 11 awa re of the tact i ca 1 approach of a government in seeking to draw as little attention as possible to a potentially contentious issue like this. The report was accompanied by a statement which was not even circulated. It was simply read out. It could easily have been circulated like the other 4 statements which we are addressing today. By doing that, the Attorney-General and the government could have done the people of the Northern Territory a service in terms of constructive parliamentary debate. I take your point, Mr Speaker_ that I could have simply adjourned the debate. However, for the benefit of the Attorney-General and the Leader of Government Business, I point out that it is pathetic for a report on a highly contentious subject of public debate to be dealt with in this fashion. 8757