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Thursday, 1 November 2012
Page: 8880

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (18:32): I am just not sure whether we were conscious of the fact that this motion was coming forward. We no doubt will be supporting it. (Quorum formed) I am pleased to see that this committee is being formed. When I was local government minister in the Howard government, this issue was constantly raised with me. I always used to say to local government: 'I understand the principle. I support it in principle. But do not come to me until you can assure me that there will be no state opposing this constitutional recognition.' When I asked local government to do that, they rightly felt that they could not do that at the time. It has moved on a lot since then.

Senator McEwen interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! Senator McEwen, I heard what was said and I think it should be withdrawn.

Senator McEwen: I withdraw.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I did not hear the comment; more's the pity. If it was a comment decrying my right to speak on this particular motion, I would take offence. But this is typical of the Labor Party. If you do not agree with the Labor Party then you should not be allowed to speak at all—that seems to be their approach. I assume the interjection, which I did not hear, was along those lines. I do not know whether Senator McEwen's past involved local government; I proudly served on a local government for 11 years.

Senator Thorp: Why speculate? Just get on with it.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Macdonald, ignore all interjections and please address your remarks to the chair.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I will. Thank you, Mr Deputy President. I proudly served on a local government for 11 years before I came into this chamber, and then I had three years here as the minister for local government. I am delighted to see that this is moving on. I know local government themselves are very keen for constitutional recognition. I am totally supportive of most of their arguments.

A friend and associate of mine, Mr David Crisafulli, is now the Queensland Minister for Local Government, and I know he has some views on this issue as well. I am sure this committee will be consulting widely and will be ensuring that the views of all of the states are taken into account. I look forward to the determinations of this committee when they report in due course.

Question agreed to.