Allan Takes Aim Blog

Legislative Assembly deserves tick of approval

Posted on: 16 September 2009

Published “The Chronicle” Canberra, Tuesday 2 September, 2009

Since the ACT’s Self Government Act was passed 21 years ago and the election a year later of the 17 Member Legislative Assembly (we now need 21) some people are still suggesting the ACT would be better off with a Council and a Mayor.

Annoyingly many of these people know little about Canberra pre self- government and many did not vote in the 1978 referendum that said NO to self-government (I voted yes). Some indeed, did not come to Canberra until long after the election of the first Government and in many cases their knowledge of Canberra is based on anecdotal and inaccurate accounts of fellow whingers.

That said, the pre and post first election groups have something in common: a lack of understanding that knowledge of the past is essential to creating the future and the antithesis of the independent spirit that allegedly sets Australians apart from people elsewhere. From their words it seems they prefer being nannied to being independent and looking after themselves which is why they whinge about the Legislative Assembly. Clearly too, they are unaware of the saying that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Well neither is a system of government; a government system is always a work in progress.

I venture to suggest also, that most of these anti self–government people have never visited the Assembly on sitting days and have no idea of how it works and that at election time they vote for party names not on any knowledge of the policies being put forward by various candidates. They also seem to have forgotten that the MLAs whose Lilliputian minds they say belittle and reduce major issues to unimportance, are the ones they elected in the first place, a situation that leaves them little room to whinge.

This not to say that some of the current MLAs are not small minded. A minority are. Unfortunately this minority also seem to have a political agenda that even a Government dedicated to creating Utopia would accede to. That said, it is also my contention that this minority of MLAs would serve Canberra better by occupying seats in other parliaments.

 However, despite giving a tick of approval to the Assembly, some recent Government decisions are hard to fathom, a good example the stripping the ACT’s main annual cultural event of the Fringe Festival. With his in mind and regardless of the Government’s claim that Canberra is Australia’s Culture Capital, clearly it also has some cultural vandals of its own one of whom would seem to be a Minister.

And if that wasn’t enough, to denude city shops of their shopfront display racks also shows that those who made the decision are unaware that not only have shop front display racks been sales aids for millenniums but also that they are common in the world’s greatest cities because they help give the cities an ambience that makes them attractive to tourists. Could it be that the responsible (or should that be irresponsible?) Minister is suffering from a new strain of Germaphobia and obsessed with keeping the city’s streets in pristine condition.

And why the ACT Tourism Minister is not decrying this silliness I don’t know. But perhaps he agrees with his Cabinet colleague and will help make the streets safer by helping remove displays when the right photo opportunity presents itself.

As for the banning of fireworks, according to the CEO of the RSPCA, even the noise of fireworks coming from miles away frightens animals. If so, and speaking as a cat owner, this CEO should also have called for the banning of Skyfire and fireworks at other major events.

A final piece of silliness was the re-introduction of a Civil Unions Bill because it was known that, even if passed by the Assembly, the Federal Government would quash it. An agnostic, let me make my position on this issue clear. As contracts come in many forms, I support civil union contracts that give same sex partners the same benefits as heterosexual couples.


1 Response to "Legislative Assembly deserves tick of approval"

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