This Menzies School of Health Research Oration speech was given by Bob Collins, former ALP Senator for the Northern Territory.
Speech by Bob Collins to the Menzies School of Health Research.
On Oct. 3 this year a clear majority of Territorians did what many thought impossible – they voted NO to statehood. Commentators said it was like losing a vote on motherhood with support for the YES vote running at 70% – 80% in the main urban centres of the Territory.
I strongly question the basis of those assumptions. Support for statehood among many Territorians who think their lifestyle couldn’t be any better has never been that high. It is easy to get a 70% – 80% YES response to the simple question ‘Should the NT become a state?’. When it comes to more detailed consideration that level of support rapidly erodes. A vote of between 50% – 60% overall was a more likely result. I am certain that if the questions on statehood and the constitution had been put separately and the debate had been inclusive of concerns on process and the draft constitution this would have been achieved. Why wasn’t it?