“Well, invaded by idiots, perhaps, Mr Humphries, and that would not surprise me at all. Being invaded by drunks would not surprise me either. Being invaded by people with nowhere else to go would not surprise me either. But I ask you, Mr Humphries, as you sit there with your smug look on your face – – -“
When I first read the above in the Hansard DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY for 2 July 1999, I thought, “Ye gods, the ACT Legislative Assembly has finally come of age and is going to debate the character of the English invaders of Aboriginal Australia in 1788.” I soon realised that I was sadly mistaken. The debate was actually about whether the bovver boys in blue, aka the Australian Federal Police, should be diverted from their primary role as enforces of the ‘rule of law’ (what a joke), enabling them to devote more time and resources to the farcical whims of the “idiots…drunks…and people with nowhere else to go…” who have invaded the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory.
No, I’m not off on a folly; there is purpose to my current madness. My purpose is to again shine light on the folly of racism and hatred that appears to be so dominant on the psychological landscape of the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
Every now and again the folly of transforming the Australian Capital Territory from the status an inferior political entity, which is more than it should be, into a fully fledged state of the Commonwealth of Australia is raised by the “idiots…drunks…and people with nowhere else to go…” who have invaded the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory.
The core of the debate is the spurious assertion made by the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory that the ACT is entitled to “equal rights” with the states and, as a consequence, the “intolerable” Commonwealth veto power would cease to operate. Section 35 of the ACT (Self-Government) Act allows for the Governor-General of Australia to disallow ACT legislation which s/he “considers to be desirable as a result of considering the enactment”.
Like a row of donkeys, media commentators line up to repeat this nonsense behind an angry Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, complaining that the ACT as a jurisdiction suffers from restrictions that do not apply to the states. The reason is simple.
The ACT is not a state. It is the creation of the national government and parliament, and its reason for existence is to provide the seat of national administration. The ACT lacks many privileges of the states guaranteed by the Constitution. The ACT has no claim to statehood. It never will be a state. Its constitutionally inferior status is enshrined for good reason. No amount of foot stamping by Stanhope or Canberra journalists will alter this truth.
It means that while Australian citizens living in the ACT should be accorded the same political rights as other citizens, this does not gainsay the more limited nature of the ACT as a self-governing entity whose originating purpose as a territory still remains.
If for no other reason, the status quo should remain, because the ACT is probably the one jurisdiction in Australia where corruption and racism reign unchecked. In NSW and Queensland there are Independent Commissions Against Corruption. At the Commonwealth level there are a number of administrative bodies that can act as a ‘first port of call’ in the event that corruption is detected. In the Australian Capital Territory there are no effective administrative safeguards in place.
If you happen to be an Indigenous Australian, living in or passing through the ACT, not only are there no administrative safeguards in place to protect you from the ‘red necks’ who populate that place, but active and seemingly officially sanctioned racism goes unchecked.
In my About page I discuss a glaring case of racism and corruption impacting on me personally which occurred in a very public place in the ACT. The racially motivated assault on me and the racially motivated indecent assault on one of my companions, even though witnessed by a number of people who have provided statements, has remained un-ivestigated and unpunished. Why? Simply because of the racism and corruption that passes for the ‘rule of law’ in the ACT.
While in opposition the ACT Labor Party raised the issue of establishing an Independent Commissions Against Corruption in the ACT. I have included an excerpt from the debate on this from Hansard:
MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, through you, I address a question to the Attorney-General and defacto Chief Minister, Mr Humphries. I draw attention to the fact that about two weeks ago I indicated that I was going to bring on legislation to establish an independent commission against corruption. The immediate knee-jerk reaction to that from both the Attorney-General and the Chief Minister was to be expected. The Chief Minister said, “We don’t have any corruption that I know about”. There was the qualification “that I know about”. That was reported in the Canberra Times on 12 August. Mr Humphries, on Capital 10 on 11 August, asked the rhetorical question, “Where in the last 10 years has there been any corruption?”, and he challenged me to produce evidence of it. Well, Mr Speaker, in the last few days we have seen comments from both the Auditors-General of New South Wales and Victoria about the possibility of a royal commission in Victoria on the basis of the nature of the government that they have, which, incidentally, is very similar to the nature of the government that we have. Also, the independent commissioner in New South Wales was reported in the Sydney media in the last couple of days as having said that he has had inquiries from people in the ACT asking him to look into allegations of corruption in the ACT, which, of course, he does not have the power to do. In light of those facts, Mr Humphries, instead of having you challenge me to produce evidence, I would like to ask you, as Attorney-General, given your certainty in this matter and the certainty of the Chief Minister, whether you will give an unconditional guarantee in writing that there is no corruption in the ACT. (My emphasis).
If ACT Labor was so convinced that there was corruption in the ACT while in opposition, why after 10 years in office, why have they done nothing about it? The answer is again simple, because everybody has their finger in the pie and nobody wants to draw attention to that fact.
I have provided ample proof on Blak and Black of the rampant corruption, including perjury and possibly contempt of court that has occurred recently in ACT Treasury. What has been done about the concerns I have raised? Nothing! Why? Again the answer is simple, corruption and racism!