The ACT Government will launch a ”unilateral” attempt this year to shake up the 20-year-old Self-Government Act in an effort to win greater self-determination for the territory.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope says that after 10 years of frustration from the Commonwealth, his Government will seek the support of the other local political parties to go it alone on what is long overdue reform. 

The Canberra Liberals and the ACT Greens have expressed support in principle for a territory-initiated push to overhaul the Act, the central piece of legislation that determines how Canberra is self-governed.

Mr Stanhope said it was ”madness” that the territory’s parliament, the ACT Legislative Assembly, had no control over its own numbers and that the Commonwealth could override the local legislature on issues such as euthanasia and gay marriage.

The Chief Minister said that he had received no support from either Labor or Coalition governments for self-government reform in his 10 years as Chief Minister and that it was time for ACT politicians to take matters into their own hands.

”I have over the last 10 years achieved nil support from my federal colleagues or any Federal Government of any colour or persuasion for a joint ACT Commonwealth review of the Self-Government Act,” he said.

”There are aspects to it that aren’t acceptable and aren’t relevant and the Act needs to be changed.

”We’re at a point now where I believe that we should initiate a review ourselves and I haven’t yet decided on what form that review would take, whether we do it through the Assembly or whether we engage some other route.”

Nowell Towell, Canberra Times, 20 January 2011

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