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Debates and Questions - Day 1 - 24 April 2020



Debates and Questions - Day 1 - 24 April 2020

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Parliamentary Record 27


Debates and Questions for 13th Assembly 2019 - 2020; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




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Debates and Questions

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES AND QUESTIONS Friday 24 April 2020 8322 government, community, business et ceterawill only work if everyone knows what everyone else is doing. It is about the open and transparent process. I have seen some things this morning that really concern me about open and transparent process. There is no need to ram this stuff through or not to have adequate debate like Question Time in the Chamber. There is no need for people who are not affected by travel restrictions not to be in this Chamber. We need to keep doing our job. I know people who are heavily affected by travel restrictions. They are not able to buy food in the shop in Alice Springs because they are in a restricted area on an outstation or a community like Hermannsburg. They are affected by travel restrictions. I do not accept the idea that we can selectively say, I cannot come because there are travel restrictions somewhere. This Chamber has a job to do and we need to continue to do it. All of us need to work together, show leadership and show that we are doing these things. Traveling here has informed me about a lot of what is going on. I drove to Darwin for sittings; I camped on the road near Tennant Creek and stayed in Katherine. I was interested in some of the things I saw. I went through numerous check points. I thank the Northern Territory Police, the AFP and the Army officers who are assisting at the road stops. The road stops I went through were all extremely professional. They did a very good job and I thank them for the work they are doing. I know there is a bit of debate about people going around road blocks and some doing the wrong thing. A handful of people are doing the wrong thing, but mostly people are doing the right thing. If you know someone doing the wrong thing, I encourage you to talk to them as an equal rather than as an authority figure. Whoever you are, I encourage you to speak to people who are doing the wrong thing and try to get them to snap out of it and think about what is good for the whole community. I think that should be done without name calling. I do not think we should be calling anyone grubs or anything else. I think that we need to work on this together. I will go back to this legislation before us; it is incredibly complex. If this legislation was being reviewed because of a court case, hundreds of hours of research and cross-referencing would go into it. We are being asked to pass legislation into law today without adequate due process. It is an emergency, but I do not think that the legislation put forward is adequately bound in the language that it needs to be to make sure it has a defined sunset clause that shows very clearly, to the parliament and the people, that it is an emergency measure for the time of the declared emergency. I cannot give you any detail or reference to clauses, because we have not had the time to do this. I agree with the member who spoke before me about why there has not been a statement to this parliament by the Chief Minister about what we are doing. That is absolutely appropriate. We should know that; it is an appropriate thing to do. We have done extraordinary things already, including passing the emergency measure of giving the Treasurer a $300m cash advance, effectively, to carry out emergency measures. We need that reported back to parliament. At the convenience of various governments, they are all proper keen to do ministerial statements when it suits them. This is a time where we clearly need a ministerial statement from the Chief Minister that it is very open and spoken in a sincere and succinct way, free of partisan politics, putting forward the situation to inform people, through our parliament, what is going on. We need to know matters of detail of how the Chief Minister is representing us in the National Cabinet. Those statements should be made in this Chamber. I give a shout out to all Territorians and to the leadership of this government. We have all done a good job together, but the only way we will stay together and on the same page is to be open and transparent. The idea that this parliament does not have time for Question Time, but has time for adjournments, looks ridiculous. I am already getting numerous messages saying that people think that is ridiculous. There could easily have been a Question Time. The Leader of the Opposition pointed out that every other parliament that had an emergency or extraordinary session had a Question Time. I take her on her word for that; I am not absolutely sure of that. There is no reason there could not have been a Question Time today. I implore the leadership of this place, the Chief Minister and the other ministers to please keep Territorians informed. Please answer any question you get in good faith and open and transparently, because if you do not people will start to really question the measures we have in place.