LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee
Tabled February 2012
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee
Report on the Statehood Program
Tabled in the Legislative Assembly
in February 2012
Contents ... i
Chair’s Overview ... ii
Committee Members ... iv
Committee Secretariat ... v
1. Introduction ... 1
2. Background... 2
Recommendations of the SSC ... 2
Northern Territory Constitutional Convention Committee... 4
Information Campaign ... 4
Current Status of the Statehood Program ... 4
3. Convention Planning... 5
Panellists ... 7
Program & Rules ... 8
Constitutional Framework Document ... 12
Logistics ... 12
4. Information campaign ... 14
Communication and Engagement Objectives ... 14
Key Messages... 14
Key Sensitivities ... 15
Communication and Engagement Strategy... 16
Cost of the Information Campaign... 17
5. Total Cost of the Statehood Program Since 2005 ... 18
Appendix A. Timeline of Statehood Project ... 19
Appendix B. Draft Program for Constitutional Convention ... 21
Appendix C. Scheme of Debate on Each Theme ... 22
Appendix D. Draft Rules for Constitutional Convention ... 23
Appendix E. Constitutional Framework Document ... 27
Appendix F. Northern Territory Constitutional Convention Communication and Engagement Strategy ... 49
Appendix G. Wicking Ads ... 79
Appendix H. Fact Sheets... 84
Appendix I. Brochures ... 87
Appendix J. Media Releases ... 89
Appendix K. Print Advertising ... 96
Appendix L. Flyers ... 101
Appendix M. Booklet... 106
C HAIR’S OVERVIEW
It has been a privilege to be Chairing the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee (LCAC) over the period that has seen the finalisation of the work and recommendations of the Statehood Steering Committee and the development of those recommendations into a detailed plan of action with the assistance of the Northern Territory Constitutional Convention Committee.
The Statehood Steering Committee created a unique and bold vision for constitutional development for the Northern Territory; a vision inspired by the desire for grass roots community participation.
This vision has been brought closer to reality by the thoughtful consideration of the Convention Committee, which has developed practical plans for delivering a convention of elected delegates from around the Territory: a plan to ensure that the convention will not only be for the people but will be run by the people.
These plans were on track for holding the convention in April 2012. The Legislative Assembly’s deferral of the convention to a date to be determined during the next Assembly leads the LCAC to provide this report to the Assembly on the preparations made for the convention and to seek re- endorsement of its reference to plan for a convention. In establishing the Statehood Steering Committee in 2005, the Assembly decided that to ensure a bipartisan approach the Statehood program should be administered by a parliamentary committee rather than the Government. The LCAC therefore considers that it is appropriate for it to report back to the Assembly and confirm its mandate in the light of recent developments.
While I have found the postponement of the convention to be extremely disappointing, it does provide further opportunity for Territorians to consider the questions that need to be discussed at the convention. The release of the constitutional framework document and convention planning in this report can help Territorians to better prepare for the convention. The LCAC therefore proposes to foster further consideration of the questions relating to Statehood and maintain existing preparations so the next Assembly may proceed with the election of delegates and convention at whatever time the then Government chooses.
Many people have helped bring the Statehood program to the cusp of holding a convention. The LCAC continues to extend its thanks to the former members of the Statehood Steering Committee for their extensive work and innovative recommendations. We are also grateful to the members of the
advice. The Committee also thanks the Office of Statehood for its work in supporting our deliberations, implementing the logistics, and raising awareness of Statehood issues around the Territory. I also extend my thanks to the Chief Minister, the Hon Paul Henderson MLA, and the Minister for Statehood, the Hon Malarndirri McCarthy MLA, without whose support and commitment to Statehood it would not have been possible to bring the recommendations of the Statehood Steering Committee so close to fruition.
Finally, I would like to thank the Members of the LCAC who have strived together to develop a bipartisan model for a people’s constitutional convention.
The Honourable Jane Aagaard MLA
C OMMITTEE MEMBERS
The Honourable Jane AAGAARD, MLA Member for Nightcliff
Party: Australian Labor Party Parliamentary Position: Speaker
Standing: House; Standing Orders; Members'
Interests; Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Chair: House, Legal and Constitutional Affairs, NT Constitutional Convention Committee
Ms. Marion SCRYMGOUR, MLA Member for Arafura
Party: Australian Labor Party Committee Membership:
Standing: Legal and Constitutional Affairs; House; Public Accounts; Subordinate Legislation and Publications
Sessional: Environment and Sustainable Development;
Council of Territory Co-operation Select: Youth Suicides in the NT
Chair: Environment and Sustainable Development, Youth Suicides in the NT
Other: NT Constitutional Convention Committee Mr. Michael GUNNER, MLA
Member for Fannie Bay
Party: Australian Labor Party Parliamentary Position: Government Whip Committee Membership:
Standing: Legal and Constitutional Affairs; Public Accounts; Standing Orders; Subordinate Legislation and Publications; Members' Interests Sessional: Environment and Sustainable Development;
Chair: Public Accounts; Estimates, Subordinate Legislation and Publications
Ms. Kezia PURICK, MLA Member for Goyder
Party: Country Liberals
Parliamentary Position: Deputy Leader of the Opposition; Shadow Minister for Primary Industry, Fisheries and Resources; Statehood; Women’s Policy
Standing: Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Sessional: Council of Territory Co-operation-Animal Welfare
Select: Youth Suicides in the NT
Other: NT Constitutional Convention Committee Mr. Peter CHANDLER, MLA
Member for Brennan
Party: Country Liberals
Parliamentary Position: Shadow Minister for Education and Training;
Natural Resources, Environment and Heritage;
Parks and Wildlife Committee Membership:
Standing: Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Sessional: Environment and Sustainable Development
C OMMITTEE SECRETARIAT
Committee Secretary: Mr Russell Keith Research/Administrative Officer: Ms Lauren Copley Committee Support Assistant: Ms Kim Cowcher
Contact Details: GPO Box 3721 DARWIN NT 0801 Tel: +61 8 8946 1429
Fax: +61 8 8946 1419 e-mail: [email protected]
O FFICE OF STATEHOOD
Program Manager: Mr Dennis Meehan
Project Officer: Mr Matthew James
Community Liaison Officer: Ms Nora Kempster Research/Administrative Officer: Ms Pauline Lewis
This report outlines to the Legislative Assembly the work of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee (LCAC) on the Statehood program since the tabling of the Statehood Steering Committee’s (SSC) Final Report during February 2011.
In 2004, the Assembly resolved to establish the Statehood Steering Committee that reported to the LCAC on a program of consultation and education on Statehood.
On the completion of the SSC’s work in 2010, the Assembly established the Northern Territory Constitutional Convention Committee (NTCCC) to assist with the implementation of the Statehood Program leading up to and including a constitutional convention.
With the assistance of the NTCCC and in accordance with the recommendations of the SSC, the LCAC developed a plan for the election of delegates and holding the convention. This work culminated with the Assembly passing the Constitutional Convention (Election) Bill 2011 to enable the election to be held. However, the timing of the election, and therefore the convention, has been deferred to a date to be set after the 2012 Northern Territory General Election.
The LCAC retains a reference to progress constitutional development for the Northern Territory and will report as required on future work on the reference as undertaken when further milestones are reached.
This document serves as a template for future consideration of the next steps, including organisation of the convention, election of delegates, reporting processes and planning for outcomes.
The selection and invitation of panellists was undertaken during 2011 and this requires refreshing, otherwise the program is ready to proceed.
Working towards Statehood has been a hallmark of work undertaken by a number of Legislative Assembly Committees since the 1980s. A concerted commitment from the Government of the day can be found in the Chief Minister’s Policy Statement: Towards Statehood of 28 August 1986 (see timeline at Appendix A).
The constitutional convention and the failure of the referendum in 1998 caused significant reflection and evaluation of the move towards Statehood. A major outcome of that reflection was the determination that any move towards Statehood must not only have popular support but also needs to be shaped by the people of the Territory. This led to the formation of the Statehood Steering Committee during 2005 with majority community membership and the driving of the Statehood program by the Assembly, particularly through the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, rather than through the Government and its agencies.
The existing Statehood program is a result of the recommendations by the Statehood Steering Committee contained in its Final Report, as adopted by the Assembly and the Government. Central elements of the current program are its ongoing progression with bipartisan support and its focus on participation by the people of the Territory.
Recommendations of the SSC
Following five years of consultation and information programs, the Statehood Steering Committee produced 10 recommendations for continuing the Territory’s Statehood program. These recommendations were rooted in the philosophy that any move towards Statehood must be shaped by the people of the Territory. Central to the SSC’s recommendations was the formation of two constitutional conventions comprised wholly of elected delegates.
Apart from the original proposed date for the conventions, the recommendations have received support from the Government and Opposition and provided the template for planning for the convention.
The SSC’s ten recommendation were:
1. The Statehood Steering Committee by mutual agreement between the SSC and the LCAC conclude its work at the end of 2010 and report to the LCAC on the 2010 year of activities.
2. The LCAC appoints a new Advisory Committee (Northern Territory Constitutional Convention Committee – NTCCC) to undertake the planning for a Constitutional Convention to be held by the end of 2011 and advise the LCAC on the resources and any other requirements needed for a successful Convention.
3. The LCAC approaches the Northern Territory Government to seek adequate funds to support a process which will result in democratically elected delegates being the decision makers at the Convention.
4. An election process for delegates should take place with all necessary promotion and support so as to inform Territorians how to become involved well ahead of the Convention.
5. The election process should allow 171 year old Territorians the ability to vote and to nominate to be a candidate for election as a delegate to the Convention.
6. The Convention should take place in two discrete sessions over an adequate time to ensure the acceptance and understanding of the program by as many Territorians as possible.
7. The First Convention should convene in Darwin over approximately ten days with the support of appropriate experts and it should be informed by the views which were expressed by Territory residents contained in the NT 2011 Information Roadshow Reports gathered from the 50 public forums held across the Territory in 2010.
8. The First Convention should produce a draft Constitution to be publicly released and consulted upon for a period of approximately 12 months prior to Convention delegates reconvening to consider the response of Territorians to the content of the Draft Constitution.
9. The Second Convention should convene in Alice Springs over approximately five days to ratify a Final Draft Constitution for presentation to the Legislative Assembly by early 2013.
10. The Territory Government must continue to engage the Commonwealth Government and Parliamentarians on the terms and conditions of Statehood under s.121 of the Australian Constitution (as described in the SSC Information Paper; What Might the Terms and Conditions of Northern Territory Statehood Be? to be released by the LCAC on behalf of the SSC on 1 January 2011) prior to undertaking any referendum on the question of Statehood for the Northern Territory.
1 The original intention of the SSC was to include 16 year olds but at the time of reporting it was advised that the inclusion of people less than 17 years old was not practicable. However, the subsequent inclusion of 16 year olds on the Commonwealth provisional roll enabled the LCAC and NTCCC to pursue the SSC’s original intention.
Northern Territory Constitutional Convention Committee
The Assembly implemented recommendation 2 of the SSC by providing for the appointment of the NTCCC by the LCAC to advise the Committee on the implementation of the Statehood program and the holding of the Constitutional Convention.
The NTCCC actively assisted the LCAC throughout 2011 in preparing for the convention. The outcome of those preparations is set out at chapters 3 and 4.
The members of the Committee are:
• Hon Jane Aagaard MLA (Chair)
• Ms Fran Kilgariff (Co-Chair)
• Ms Kezia Purick MLA
• Ms Marion Scrymgour MLA
• Ms Lynette De Santos
• Mr John Rawnsley
• Mr Matthew Storey (resigned December 2011)
• Prof George Williams AO.
Public information and education are crucial to broad participation in the consideration of Statehood. Following support of the SSC recommendations and the establishment of the NTCCC, the Office of Statehood sought to raise public awareness of the planned process for drafting a constitution and considering whether to become a State.
Following the joint press conference with the Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition held on 17 June 2011 announcing the timetable for the election and convention, the LCAC implemented a concerted media campaign advising of the convention process and inviting Territorians to nominate for election.
Current Status of the Statehood Program
On 30 November 2011, the Assembly passed the Constitutional Convention (Election) Bill which provides for the election of delegates to the convention at a time to be proclaimed by the Minister.
3. CONVENTION PLANNING
Analysis of the 1998 convention and the consultation undertaken by the Statehood Steering Committee made it very clear to the LCAC that participation of the people of the Territory is essential for any future convention. It is only with their broad based support and after a very thorough and inclusive program has been completed that the Territory can move toward Statehood at a future referendum.
The NTCCC further emphasised during its planning for the election of delegates and the conventions that the constitutional conventions needed to be the people’s conventions. It was on this basis that the program was designed to ensure maximum participation and communication over a period of approximately 18 months of conventions and consultation before consideration would be given to a recommendation to the Assembly and the Government concerning a referendum. The NTCCC was clear that the delegates needed to be chosen by the people and the conventions needed to discuss issues of concern to the people.
The LCAC, with the assistance of the NTCCC, therefore set about devising a convention process that would truly belong to Territorians but could effectively develop an agreed constitution. To this end, the convention model included:
• all delegates being elected (with two delegates and one reserve delegate from each Assembly electorate);
• only delegates having voting rights;
• reserve delegates being full participants except that they may only vote when taking the place of a delegate;
• nominated specialists forming a technical and a social and economic advisory panel to be available to delegates, participate in discussions, but not to vote on convention motions;
• convention program and rules allowing for:
o the convention to adopt or amend the program and rules;
o every delegate and reserve delegate to make an introductory statement on their aspirations for the Territory constitution and the convention;
o most days to commence with participants able to make two minute statements on any matter regarding the constitution;
o regular opportunities to propose new items within the program;
o debate on each theme to be revisited repeatedly within both plenary sessions and working groups before consideration of final resolutions in the last two days; and
• a resolutions group comprising the elected chairs of each of four working groups, the Convention Chair and two panellists to draft resolutions for the consideration of the convention in accordance with the outcome of the debates and votes of the convention; and
• a constitutional framework document being provided to the convention as a suggested template for essential elements of the constitution.
In addition, it was important that information about the election and convention process was widely disseminated so all Territorians had ample opportunity to participate, whether by nominating for election to be a delegate or raising issues of interest to them within their communities and organisations to influence delegate thinking on these issues.
The NTCCC had a brief to prepare for the election of delegates and a convention to be held in late 2011 with a follow up convention to be held using the same elected delegates in late 2012 or early 2013. This reflected the timeframes in the Final Report of the SSC as adopted by the LCAC and communication between the LCAC and the Government during early 2011 seeking funding for the implementation of the recommendations within the proposed timeframe.
The Government was informed by the Northern Territory Electoral Commission (NTEC) that the holding of an election for delegates to a convention was in the vicinity of $2 million and even a model with mainly postal votes would not substantially reduce this amount. On the basis of this advice the Government informed the LCAC during May 2011 that it would prefer a model which would include the election of delegates taking place in conjunction with the already scheduled local government elections to be held during March 2012.
The LCAC agreed and the dates announced by the members of the LCAC, NTCCC, Chief Minister and Opposition Leader on 17 June 2011 made it clear that the date for the election was 24 March 2012 in conjunction with the Local Government Elections.
On that basis, it is understood the Government commenced discussions with LGANT about cost sharing for the conducting of the elections on the same day.
The NTEC indicated some logistical matters required resolution in terms of holding elections along different boundaries, but there was no substantial impediment to the election going forward on the proposed date.
In anticipation of the established dates, work commenced immediately on legislation to underpin a compulsory election process.
This Chapter sets out the key planning and preparation undertaken for the holding of a convention, while the following chapter outlines the information campaign developed to ensure broad awareness of the election and convention process.
The Statehood Steering Committee recommended that the convention of elected delegates should be supported by appropriate experts. The LCAC therefore planned for a technical panel and a social and economic advisory panel to assist delegates in their deliberations.
The LCAC began approaching organisations and individuals to invite them to be panellists early in 2011 in anticipation of the convention being held in November that year. When the Convention was postponed to April 2012 it wrote to advise invitees of the new dates, and has again written following the indefinite postponement of the conventions after 30 November 2011.
At 30 November 2011, the Committee was planning on representative panellists from the following organisations, officers or individuals to take part on one of the two panels:
Social and Economic Advisory Panel
• Unions NT
• Youth Ministers Round Table
• Chief Minister (or representative)
• Leader of the Opposition (or representative)
• Commonwealth Attorney-General
• Commonwealth Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
• Chamber of Commerce NT
• Both Senators for the Northern Territory
• Both Federal Members of Parliament
• Minerals Council of Australia, Northern Territory Division
• Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association
• Northern Territory Council of Churches
• Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory (two representatives)
• Anindilyakwa Land Council
• Tiwi Land Council
• Central Land Council
• Northern Land Council
• The Hon Steve Hatton, Former Chief Minister
• Members of the Northern Territory Constitutional Convention Committee.
Technical Advisory Panel
• Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory (or representative)
• Solicitor-General of the Northern Territory;
• Solicitor-General of Australia (or representative)
• Parliamentary Counsel
• Under Treasurer
• Electoral Commissioner
• Law Society NT
• School of Law and Business, Charles Darwin University
• Professor Cheryl Saunders AO
• Professor Anne Twomey
• Professor George Williams AO.
Program & Rules
The draft program, scheme of debate and rules as developed by 30 November 2011 are at appendices B, C and D.
The core elements of the program and rules are the:
• forms of discussion provided;
• process for discussing each theme; and
• themes for discussion.
Forms of discussion
The draft rules provide the following forms of discussing matters at the constitutional convention:
Introductory Statements: are three minute statements that may be made by each delegate during the first day of the convention on their aspirations for the Territory Constitution and the Convention. These statements will enable delegates to highlight what they see as the key issues for the convention.
Two Minute Statements: provide an opportunity on most days of the convention for delegates to briefly raise a point of concern or interest regarding the constitution. This will allow the raising of issues not currently included in the program. After two minute statements, there is an opportunity for delegates to move that a new item be included in the program.
New Program Items: may be proposed by any delegate at the conclusion of two minutes statements. If seconded, the mover may speak for up to 1 minute and then the delegates vote on the motion. If the motion is supported by around 25% of delegates, the Chair will amend the program to best accommodate the needs of the convention.
Working Groups: provide opportunities for less structured discussion in smaller groups. Each working group is to elect its chair, who is to run proceedings with a minimum of formality. Panellist may participate, but not vote, in working groups. Working groups are to discuss themes once introduced in plenary sessions and draft the initial resolutions on the theme.
Plenary Sessions: include presentations to the whole convention and debates on motions. Discussions in plenary sessions are governed by rules of debate, so each participant may speak only once to each question in the order set out in the speakers’ list, and speakers must be relevant to the matter under consideration and are limited to five minute contributions.
Process for discussing themes
The process for discussing each theme at the convention is illustrated at Appendix C.
Generally, each theme will be introduced by a short presentation in plenary session after lunch. For the remainder of that afternoon, the convention will
break into working groups to have a detailed discussion of the theme and to draft resolutions for debate in the plenary session.
At the conclusion of the afternoon session, the Resolutions Group (which comprises each of the Working Group chairs, the Convention Chair, and two panellists with technical drafting skills) shall review all the draft resolutions of the working group and, as appropriate, consolidate or revise the draft resolutions to provide clear motions on the issues raised for consideration by the plenary session. These motions will be published on the notice paper for the following day.
On the following day, the Working Groups will meet to receive a report of the Resolutions Group from the Working Group’s chair and to discuss the day’s motions. Participants wishing to speak in the plenary debate will submit their names for the speakers’ list.
Following morning tea, the whole convention will debate and vote on the motions on the notice papers. These votes will be taken to represent the provisional decisions of the convention.
The Resolutions Group will take the outcome of the votes and debates in plenary sessions to draft a series of final motions for consideration during the last two days of the convention.
During the last two days, the final motions will be debated and voted on in plenary sessions. The resolutions group will then draft a communiqué from the convention which will be considered in Working Groups and debated and voted on in the Plenary.
It is recognised both that timetabling will need to be enforced to get through all matters for consideration and that flexibility may be required to allow more time for some matters. The Chair of the Convention therefore maintains a broad discretion to amend the order of proceedings if he or she considers it necessary for the effective conduct of business.
Themes for discussion
The draft program was separated into six themes to help organise discussion.
The issues raised within each theme will be those raised by the Convention and, of course, the program and themes themselves may be altered by the Convention. The themes are set out below.
11 Executive & Judiciary
This theme covers issues such as the Governor, Premier, Ministers, Cabinet, judges and the role of the Judiciary. On the presumption that the Convention will largely wish to follow the model used in other States and that this theme will not generate much controversy, the draft program confines this theme to the morning of the second day. The framework document (Appendix E) provides a suggested template for provisions regarding the Executive and Judiciary for consideration by the Convention.
Following on from the Executive and Judiciary, the Parliament is the third branch of government that must be included in the constitution. A full day in the program is included on the Parliament as there are a variety of established approaches to issues such as the number of Houses, the length and flexibility of terms, the electoral system and inclusion of ‘parliamentary officers’ such as the Auditor-General and Ombudsman. The framework document provides as a template a unicameral system based on that which currently exists.
Land & Minerals
The Commonwealth currently maintains jurisdiction over certain land or minerals in the Territory that elsewhere in Australia falls within the jurisdiction of the State. This includes Land administered under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act, Kakadu and Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Parks, Uranium and minerals on Aboriginal land and in the Alligator Rivers Region. Whether and how these should be administered by the Territory if it became a State is a matter for consideration. Whether Ashmore and Cartier Islands should be part of the Territory is another issue that might be of interest.
The significant place and unique circumstances of Aboriginal peoples in the Territory require special consideration. This includes issues that may be raised within other themes, such as parliamentary representation, land rights and local governance, and other issues such as recognition and traditional law.
Regions & Local Governance
The Convention may wish to give consideration to whether and how the regional diversity of the Territory should be reflected in the constitution, and
whether and how local government be provided for in the constitution. The framework document provides a model for the Convention’s consideration.
Rights & Preamble
‘Rights and Preamble’ are really two themes to be considered over the same period. What rights, if any, should be provided for in the constitution? The framework document, consistent with the Northern Territory (Self Government) Act, includes the right to the acquisition of property on just terms, although no equivalent provision is made in the current States. Finally, the Convention may consider what should be in the preamble to the Constitution.
Constitutional Framework Document
To save the Convention having to give lengthy consideration to largely mechanical matters regarding the constitution, the NTCCC commissioned an academic acknowledged as one of Australia’s pre-eminent scholars on State constitutions, Professor Anne Twomey of the University of Sydney Faculty of Law, to draft a constitutional framework document (Appendix E).
This document provides a model for the essential elements of the constitution based on the Northern Territory (Self Government) Act and the constitutions of the existing States. The document was to be circulated prior to the convention and available to the Convention for adoption, adaptation or merely for information as it considered the various aspects of a new constitution.
The framework document is not a draft constitution. It is for discussion purposes only.
In addition to the content and conduct of the convention, significant logistical work is required to bring together 75 delegates from around the Territory and other participants and provide them with an environment where they can work together on sometimes complex and contentious issues.
As at 30 November 2011, planning and preparation was in train for:
• staff for the convention
• training for convention staff
• media management
• production of conference papers and background material for delegates
• production of daily transcripts of plenary sessions and dissemination to participants and the public
• technical arrangements for recording, webcasting and broadcasting plenary sessions, including data transmission from the Convention Centre
• transport for delegates and other participants to and around Darwin
• procurement of convenient accommodation for delegates and other participants from out of Darwin
• sourcing and designing convention fit-out, signage, stationery and collateral items
• security and access management
• room setups
• support for delegates, including any who are minors or not proficient in English
• research support
• Internet and communication access for participants
4. INFORMATION CAMPAIGN
In July 2011, the Department of the Legislative Assembly engaged a consultant to assist with the development of a Northern Territory Constitutional Convention Communication and Engagement Strategy (Appendix F). The campaign was to be delivered in six identifiable stages and was supported by a Proactive Media Plan and a Campaign Implementation Plan. These plans were ratified by both the NTCCC and LCAC and a courtesy copy was provided by the LCAC to the Government for information.
Communication and Engagement Objectives
The overarching objective of this strategy was to:
Inform Territorians about the next steps towards becoming Australia’s seventh State and to engage the Territory community in contributing to, and participating in, the Towards State 7 Constitutional Convention.
Specific objectives were to:
• Continue to inform and consult with the Territory community on what Statehood meant and why the Constitutional Conventions were an integral part of moving towards Statehood.
• Promote the nomination of community members to stand for election as Convention delegates and engage the community in the nomination process.
• Inform and engage the community during the election process.
• Promote the April 2012 Constitutional Convention and call the Territory community to action to participate in the Convention by supporting their delegates.
• Engage the Territory community in providing feedback on the draft Constitution.
The overarching key message was:
To help shape the future of their Territory by supporting, and participating in, the Towards State 7 Constitutional Convention.
This approach was supported by targeted messages that corresponded with the:
• Steps leading up to the first Constitutional Convention – public information sessions, call for nominations and the election.
• Period of the Convention.
• Post Convention – public feedback on the draft Constitution.
The supporting messages were to:
• Find out more about the Territory’s move towards Statehood and the Northern Territory Constitutional Convention.
• Nominate to stand for election as a delegate of the Northern Territory Constitutional Convention – and represent their electorate in shaping the Territory’s future.
• Support the person you want to represent you at the Northern Territory Constitutional Convention by voting for them on election day.
• Get involved in the Territory’s move towards Statehood — see your delegate in action at the Northern Territory Constitutional Convention.
• Have your say on the draft Constitution.
• Electronic and print advertising was used as well as new media using social media sites and applications.
The Office of Statehood had made significant inroads in identifying and managing key sensitivities. In particular, the public consultation and education component worked concertedly to create a better two-way understanding of why Statehood is good for the Territory, as well as what issues might impede progress towards this goal.
The implementation of communication and engagement tactics outlined in this strategy were designed to build on this ongoing education and consultation – and enable the refinement and adaptation of this communications strategy over the course of the campaign. Given the campaign has been interrupted for the time being, this has not reached its conclusion.
Existing key challenges and sensitivities include the following misconceptions:
• The Territory would lose federal government funding by becoming a State.
• Statehood means more layers of government and more politicians.
• The Territory population is too small for a state.
• Statehood would result in a loss of our unique Territory identity.
• Statehood would just mean more restrictions and a loss of freedom/Territory way of life.
• Territorians said ‘no’ to Statehood in 1998, so no point in going there again.
• Politicians will do what they want anyway so what is the point in getting involved.
• The whole Statehood/constitution issue is too complicated and I don’t understand it.
• The Territory had more important things to spend money on than the election of convention delegates and a Constitutional Convention.
• Why do we need a Constitutional Convention?
Communication and Engagement Strategy
The strategy outlined critical success factors, communication and engagement objectives, key target audiences and stakeholders, key sensitivities, key messages, campaign communication and engagement tactics (over six stages) and evaluation criteria.
The six stages of the campaign were:
• Stage One: Building Momentum — August to September 2011
• Stage Two: Talking with the Community — November to December 2011
• Stage Three: Nominate Now — January to February 2012
• Stage Four: Vote for your Nominee — February to March 2012
• Stage Five: Support your Delegate — March to April 2012
• Stage Six: Tell us what you think — May 2012
Each stage included a series of promotions to match the message central to that stage. There were print and online advertisements for each stage targeting, not only commercial papers and magazines across the Territory, but community group publications as well. TV commercials, both 15 second and 30 second advertisements were produced using both graphic only advertisements as well as the Statehood champions (volunteers from the community representing a variety of demographics). Radio advertisements in English and 8 Aboriginal languages were produced.
Recording, filming and photography for all advertisements were completed.
Production of advertisements varied in the different media, but generally speaking, production was completed up to stage four.
The technical basis for Facebook and Twitter were in place and a guide to using Facebook and Twitter was developed to encourage Statehood Champions to Facebook and Tweet.
Champions were recruited to assist with the face of the campaign. A broad demographic was targeted for commercials to allow as many Territorians as possible identify with a subject area that is often conceptually oblique and removed from their everyday lives. Champions from across the Territory began appearing in advertising during October 2011. Examples of various print advertising material is annexed at Appendices G to M.
In addition to the champions, the www.ntstate7.com.au website had started gathering expression of interest from those who were interested in taking part as a delegate and wanted further information. At the time of the interruption to the campaign some 216 Territorians had indicated they would like to nominate for election as a delegate to the NT State 7 Constitutional Convention and 236 Territorians had signed up for further information.
The communication plan was also supported by a series of public information sessions in three categories. Information sessions were completed in all High Schools across the Territory who accepted an offer from the Office of Statehood. There was a remote program which saw promotions in more than 40 communities across the Territory and the urban program included public presentations in Darwin, Palmerston, Nhulunbuy, Katherine, Elliot, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.
Cost of the Information Campaign
The cost of the Information Campaign delivered in 2011, including the production and delivery of advertisements up until 30 November 2011 and the production of advertisements that were to be delivered after 30 November 2011, was around $300,000 for campaign consultants and technical suppliers to plan and produce the campaign and around $100,000 for placement of advertisements on radio and television and in print.
The look and feel of the campaign remain available for revival for any future stage of a campaign as the solid colour and logo branding is easily recognisable and will be appropriate for future use at no or little additional cost. Whether the many ‘champions’ will be available for a future campaign would need to be tested at the time, however since they were chosen on the basis they are committed Territorians who support Statehood, they should be approached again for support when the time comes.
5. Total Cost of the Statehood Program Since 2005
The LCAC, the SSC and the NTCCC as well as the people of the Northern Territory have made a considerable investment in Statehood over the past seven years as well as in previous iterations.
It is worth documenting the financial cost as well as acknowledging the significant contribution made by the members of the three committees and everyday Territorians over the period.
Below is a chart with the annual costs and total expenditure for the entire program to date.
Costs of the Statehood Program 2004 – January 2012 ($,000)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-1/12 Total Employee 119 307 338 301 472 463 421 256 2,680 Operational 108 130 256 301 285 588 606 552 2,812
TOTAL 227 437 594 603 740 1,051 1,028 802 5,492
Total Cost of the Statehood Program Since 2005
Appendix A. Timeline of Statehood Project
1986 Chief Minister Stephen Hatton’s Policy Statement: Towards Statehood 28 August 1986. The Statement proposed three stages –
Preparation of a Draft Constitution
Development and adoption by a Constitutional Convention Referendum
1987 Select Committee on Constitutional Development publishes Discussion Paper on Representation in a Territory Constitutional Convention October 1987 1996 Select Committee on Constitutional Development publishes Final Draft
Constitution for the Northern Territory December 1996
1998 Statehood Convention held 26 March to 9 April 1998 – “There was understandably some criticism both inside and outside the Convention at the method of selection of delegates and the argument was forcefully put that a direct election process should have been employed”. 2
Statehood Referendum held on 3 October 1998. 51.3% ‘no’ vote to the question: Now that a constitution for the State of the Northern Territory has been recommended by the Statehood Convention and endorsed by the Northern Territory Parliament: Do you agree that we should become a State?
1999 The April 1999 Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee report called Appropriate Measures to Facilitate Statehood recommended:
Recommence the process toward Statehood
The NTG consider whether there was a need for a referendum to start that process
A public education program commence
NTG consider the Kalkaringi and Batchelor Statements
The Standing Committee look at the matter of whether all or at least a majority of delegates be popularly elected
Engagement with the Commonwealth and the process for developing a Northern Territory Constitution be commenced
2003 Chief Minister Clare Martin recommits to Statehood at the CDU Symposia 2004 Assembly sets Terms of Reference for the Statehood Steering Committee.
2005 Members of SSC appointed by LCAC after a public advertising campaign.
2010 Statehood Steering Committee makes ten recommendations.
NTCCC appointed in December 2010 to implement SSC recommendations.
2011 February - Final Report of SSC tabled in Assembly.
July – Joint press conference with Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition and Northern Territory Constitutional Convention Committee announces election of delegates to be held in March 2012 and convention in April 2012.
2 Convention Chairman’s (Hon Austin Asche QC) Introduction to the Final Report
November – Assembly passes Constitutional Convention (Election) Bill with agreement that the timing of the election will be determined by the Government in the next Assembly.
Draft Program for Constitutional Convention 21
A p p e n d ix B . Dr a ft P rogr a m f or Cons ti tut iona l Conv e nt ionSat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu FriSat Sun 8.30 Registration Executive & JudiciaryTwo Minute Statements Two Minute Statements Two Minute Statements Two Minute Statements Two Minute Statements Resolutions Group Report 9.00 Open by Chair, Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition Executive & Judiciary: draft Working Group motions Parliament: review Land: reviewAboriginal matters: reviewRegions & Local Governance: review
Preamble & Rights: reviewConsideration of final resolutions 10.00 Break Break Break Break Break Break Break Break Program & rules Executive & Judiciary: debate of motions
10.30 Introductory Statements Photo
Parliament: debate of motions Land & Minerals: debate of motions Aboriginal Matters: debate of motions Regions & Local Governance: debate of motions
Rights: debate of motions Consideration of communiqué 12.30 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch 1.30 Parliament Land & Minerals Aboriginal Matters Regions & Local Governance Rights & Preamble 2.00
Introductory Statements ParliamentLand & Minerals Aboriginal matters Regions & Local Governance Rights: draft Working Group motions Consideration of final resolutions
Consideration of communiqué 3.00 Break Break Break Break Break Break Break Break 3.30 Introductory Statements Parliament: draft Working Group motions
Land: draft Working Group motions Aboriginal matters: draft Working Group motions Regions & Local Governance: draft Working Group motions Preamble: draft Working Group motions
Consideration of final resolutions Closing: Chief Minister Leader of Opposition 5.00 7.00 Reception Convention Dinner Key:PlenaryWorking Groups
Appendix C. Scheme of Debate on Each Theme
Introduction in Plenary 1.30 – 2.00 pm
Discussion in Working Groups 2.00 – 3.00 pm
Motions drafted by Working Groups 3.30 – 5.00 pm
Resolutions Group consolidates and revises draft motions
Working Group Chair reports from Resolutions Group
Working Group reviews motions 9.00 – 10.00 am
Motions on Notice Paper Speakers’ list opened
Motions debated in Plenary &
Preliminary Resolutions agreed 10.30 am – 12.30 pm
Final Motions on notice paper Speakers’ list open
Resolutions Group draft final motions
Final Motions debated in Plenary &
Final Resolutions agreed Resolutions Group draft communiqué
Plenary debate & agree communiqué Afternoon
Last two days
Working Groups discuss communiqué
Draft Rules for Constitutional Convention
Appendix D. Draft Rules for Constitutional Convention
1. The Chair has authority to keep order of proceedings, subject to these rules, as he or she sees fit.
2. Delegates are to comply promptly with any direction from the Chair. A ruling by the Chair on any matter is final, subject to a motion of dissent, with the Chair and the mover of such a motion being the only speakers to the motion and limited to 3 minutes duration each.
3. If a person persists in failing to follow a direction of the Chair, the Chair may, after warning the person, require the person to leave the convention for a period of time up to the remainder of the day, without debate.
4. All delegates will be allocated a seat by the Chair for the plenary sessions.
5. The Chair will issue a Notice Paper each day outlining the convention schedule, Working Group motions as revised by the resolutions group, any draft resolutions prepared by the Resolutions Group.
6. The order of business on the Notice Paper will be set by the Chair in consultation with the Resolutions Group.
7. Convention business shall proceed in line with the Notice Paper for the day.
The Chair may amend the order of proceedings if he or she considers it necessary for the effective conduct of business.
8. Participants in plenary debates will direct all discussion through the Chair.
9. Participants will be courteous in debate, and not reflect on the character or motivation of other persons.
10. Any person wishing to contribute to a debate shall raise their hand to gain the attention of the Chair, and may rise to speak when invited by the Chair.
11. Each contribution to a debate will be limited to 5 minutes, unless a shorter time is provided.
12. Participants may nominate themselves for the speakers’ list for motions on the notice paper, introductory statements and two minute statements.
13. Before the commencement of a plenary session, the Chair will settle and publish the speakers’ list for the session.
14. The Chair may limit the number of speakers for each motion.
15. Where the number of nominations exceeds the places available, the Chair may reduce the time allowed for each speaker to allow more delegates to speak.
16. During the times set aside for Introductory Statements, any delegate or reserve delegate may speak once for up to 3 minutes on their aspirations for the Territory Constitution and the Convention. No motions may be moved.
Two Minute Statements
17. During the times set aside for Two Minute Statements, any participant may speak up to 2 minutes on any matter regarding the Territory Constitution. No motions may be moved.
New Program items
18. At the conclusion of two minute statements each morning, the Chair will ask for motions to include a new item in the program. The mover may speak for 1 minute to this motion and then the Chair shall put the motion.
19. The Chair shall amend the program as required to best accommodate the needs of the convention.
Working Group motions
20. At the time set down in the Notice Paper, Working Groups will discuss the theme for consideration and draft motions for debate in Plenary.
21. The Resolutions Group will revise the draft Working Group motions for inclusion in the notice paper. Such revision may include combining similar motions from different Working Groups.
22. At the time set down for reviewing motions, Working Group Chairs will report to their Working Groups the outcome of the revision of motions by the Resolutions Group and the Working Group will review the motions on the Notice Paper. The Working Group will nominate a mover for each of its motions.
23. At the time set down for the debate of the motion in Plenary, the Chair will call the Working Group’s nominee to move the Working Group’s motion. If the nominee is not available, the Chair may call on another member of the Working Group to move the motion.
24. The Resolutions Group, having regard to the votes on Working Group motions, the debate, and any motions proposed but not debated, shall prepare draft resolutions for consideration of the convention on days 8 and 9.
25. At the time set out in the program for the consideration of final resolutions, the convention will consider the resolutions prepared by the Resolutions Group in the order set down in the Notice Paper.
26. For each resolution, the Chair will propose the question ‘that the resolution prepared by the Resolutions Group be agreed to’ and will put the question to the vote at the end of the debate. There will be no mover or reply.