The following is a potted history of governance in Canberra.
1890s: Constitutional conventions compromise on a separate capital in a federal territory within NSW but greater than 100 miles (160km) from Sydney.
1900: Constitution of Australia Act passes the British Parliament. Section 125 says the federal territory shall be greater than 100 square miles and shall be “”vested in the Commonwealth”. Section 120 gives the Commonwealth parliament power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of territories.
1911: Seat of Government Act creates the territory. All existing NSW law is brought over as at that date. New law is created by Ordinances approved by the Minister for Territories with the formal stamp of the Governor-General.
1930: Advisory Council set up: three department heads; three elected members and civic administrator.
1949: Cole report suggests municipal government for Canberra. ACT gets seat in Federal House of Representatives, initially only to have vote on ACT matters.
1958: National Capital Development Commission set up — anecdotally “”rules” Canberra through leasing and planning requirements.
1966: Full voting rights for Federal MP (Jim Fraser).
1967: Advisory Council, chaired by Jim Pead (Ind), by now fully elected seeks greater power. Council consists of 3 ALP, 3 Ind, 2 Lib, 1 True Whig, setting a three-decade pattern for Canberrans to give independents and minors the balance of power.
1969: All members of Advisory Council resign over three major decisions by Federal Territories Minister Peter Nixon. Nixon accepts resignations a reappoints all to an interim council to serve out the term till 1970.
1970: New Advisory Council: 4 Ind, 3 Lab and True Whig Alan Fitzgerald is re-elected as Australian Party candidate.
1971: Gorton Government abolishes land rent.
Oct 1973: Territories Minister Gordon Bryant says ACT to have self- govt within a year.
1974: Widespread debate on self-govt, including parliamentary committee. Advisory Council’s term extended without election until self-government.
Sept 1974: Advisory Council abolished and replaced by elected ACT Legislative Assembly: 7 Libs; 4 ALP; 2 Australia Party; 5 Inds.
1975: Parliamentary committee recommends self-govt. Two senators for ACT (Susan Ryan ALP and John Knight Liberal).
1977: Minister Tony Staley (Liberal) proposes self-govt model with wide powers to the Assembly except land.
November 27, 1978: referendum on self-govt. 63.5 against; 31.1 for; 5.4 want local government, 1.6 informal. Self-govt goes on the back-burner until Labor re-elected federally in 1983.
1984: Task force on self- govt reports. Suggests three five-member electorates and wide Assembly powers.
1985: Another Assembly term extended (till mid-1986) pending self-govt. 1986: Electoral system becomes key issue. Democrats will block legislation in Senate unless electoral system is proportional.
June 1986: Assembly term expires and is not replaced. Two years of federal argument ( mainly over the electoral system) on self-govt.
29 November, 1988: Legislation passes Federal Parliament for 17-seat Assembly with wide powers and fixed three-year terms.
4 march 1989: First election under modified d’Hondt system with ACT as a single electorate. Result: Labor 5; Liberal 4; Residents Rally 4; No Self-Government 3; Abolish Self- Government 1. Labor’s Rosemary Follett elected Chief Minister.
1989: No-confidence in Follett Government passed. Liberals’ Trevor Kaine becomes Chief Minister heading an Alliance Government with Residents’ Rally and “” No-Self-Government”. Michael Moore leaves the Rally becomes independent on cross-bench. Follett regains power in 1991.
1992: Second election. Labor 8; Liberal 6; Independents Moore and Szuty; Abolish Self-Government Dennis Stevenson. Follett CM. Hare-Clark electoral system approved by 65 per cent in an advisory referendum.
1992-95: Separate ACT Public Service with separate legislation and Independent ACT Electoral Commission set up. Electorate Act provides for Hare-Clark system with three electorates.
Feb 19 1995: 7 Lib, 6 Lab, 2 Greens, Osborne, Moore. Carnell CM.
Apr 1997: Andrews Bill passes taking away ACT and NT right to legislate on euthanasia.
21 February 1998: Third election. Referendum to entrench Hare-Clark passed overwhelmingly. No anti-self-govt candidates stand. Liberal 7, Labor 6, Osbornes 2, Green 1, Moore 1. Carnell CM.
October 2000: Kate Carnell resigns as Chief Minister in the face of defeat in a no-confidence motion over her handling of the financing of the Bruce Stadium. Her Liberal Gary Humphries becomes Chief Minister.
20 October 2001: Fourth election. Labor wins eight seats, Liberals seven, Green one and Democrats one. Labor’s Jon Stanhope elected Chief Minister.