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Friday, 28 November 1986
Page: 4055

(Question No. 4960)

Mrs Kelly asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice, on 27 November 1986:

Did his Department state in its annual report for 1985-86 that (a) there were financial guarantees in the Government's self-government legislation, (b) the legislation was rejected by the Senate and (c) the Government's proposed compromise `mixed' electoral system is similar to that successfully operating in West Germany; if so, are these statements correct.

Mr Scholes —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Annual Report of the Department of Territories does not make the first and second claims above. It does make the third claim, but not incorrectly. Specifically:

(1) The Report does not state that there were financial guarantees in the legislation to establish the proposed ACT Council.

The reference in the Report, under the heading ``Financial Arrangements'' on page 29, is that:

``The legislation provided for financial arrangements to ensure the new Administration's fiscal control over the considerable range of responsibilities to be transferred. The Commonwealth also undertook to enter into detailed negotiations on financial matters with the incoming body and provided specific financial guarantees, to ensure the smooth and orderly transfer of responsibility.'' (emphasis added).

(2) The Report records at page 28 that the ACT Council Bill 1986 was introduced into the Senate on 16 April 1986 (Senate Hansard of 16 April 1986, pages 1736-1739). Amendments were tabled by the Government in the House of Representatives on 3 June 1986 and were incorporated in the Senate Hansard on the same date.

The Report does not state that the Bill was rejected in the Senate. In three places (the Secretary's letter of transmittal and pages 28 and 29) it states that the Bill ``had not passed the Senate''. That is still the fact.

(3) The Report states at page 29 that the electoral system proposed by the Government, that is a mixed electoral system with ten members elected from single member electorates and nine members elected from the ACT at large, is ``similar to that successfully operating in West Germany''.

At both Federal and State (Lander) levels in the Federal Republic of Germany, there are mixed electoral systems, in which some representatives are elected directly and some by proportional representation.