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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1646


Mr CALDER (NORTHERN TERRITORY) - The people of the Territories will not have the right to vote in the referendum on 8 December which seeks to give the Government power to control wages and prices. The people of the Northern Territory are now under the influence of the Minister for the Capital Territory and the Minister for the Northern Territory (Mr Enderby), who lives in Canberra. He is a city man. The people of the Northern Territory have to put up with the snap decisions that he makes from 2,000 miles away. I have again given notice that I propose to move that the notice which has been given of acquisition of certain land by the Commonwealth in the Northern Territory be declared void and of no effect. This proposed acquisition is a simple example of how little the Minister and the Government think of the Northern Territory. They arc not prepared to listen to people of the Northern Territory. Within an hour of the defeat of this proposal in the Senate the Minister burst from his office virtually in an uncontrollable rage and re-gazetted the acquisition proposal. He took no notice of the Senate. I hope that his departmental officers will have the common decency to go and discuss this matter with the people of the 32 square miles of land south of Darwin he hopes to resume. A principle is involved. Those people do not like being pushed around, especially by someone from down south who does not really know what he is talking about - although I know that lots of those people would themselves treat on their land.

I return to the subject of the representation of the Territories in the Senate. While moving for representation of the Northern Territory in the Senate the Government is moving away from, or appears to be moving away from, giving the people of the Northern Territory responsibility in their own legislature. The views of the Northern Territory Legislative Council are ignored on many occasions. The land acquisition proposal is but one example. Under the previous Government the Legislative Council was to have jurisdiction over urban land. Where does that jurisdiction lie now? It lies in an administrative set-up established in Canberra. What happened to the control of the police force? What happened to the security service? It was abolished altogether. Those are examples of the attitude the Government adopts towards the Northern Territory. The people of the Northern Territory are not very pleased about the Government's actions.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Northern Territory has been set up to study matters relating to the Northern Territory. Its establishment has been accepted by Legislative Councillors with some reluctance. Some of them have been quoted as saying that it will not be of the slightest use. They say that we should have a continuation of the discussions which were had with Ministers in the former Government about giving responsibility to them to run the Northern Territory's affairs. On the one hand this Government is giving something and on the other it is taking away something. When the first Bill was debated on 30 May I moved an amendment which virtually sought to bring the date of the election for the proposed senators from the Northern Territory into line with the Senate election in the States. After all, the senators elected from the Territory would be sitting alongside those elected from the States. There is no reason why their election should not take place at the same time and under the same terms as the election for the senators from the States. I cannot understand why that has not been brought about. I do not know whether the ALP thinks it will win 2 of these 4 Senate seats. When this Bill was introduced the ALP might have imagined that it would have won 3 seats to 1. I very much doubt that they would not lose 3 seats to 1.


Mr Enderby - Are you going to--







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