Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee 12th Assembly
The role of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee is to inquire, report and make recommendations upon such constitutional and legal matters as may be referred to it by the Attorney-General or resolution of the Assembly. In addition, on 23 October 2012 the Assembly resolved that:
During the present session of the Assembly, and notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders, that the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee be assigned the powers and functions of the Subordinate Legislation and Publications Committee as laid out in the standing orders.
Terms of Reference
(Standing Order 178)
(1) A Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee will be appointed at the commencement of each Assembly to inquire into and report on such constitutional and legal matters as may be referred to it by:
(a) the Attorney-General, or
(b) a resolution of the Assembly.
(2) The committee will consist of five Members
Options for the Northern Territory to become a State
On 6 December 2012, the Attorney-General referred the Options for the Northern Territory to become a State to the LCAC. A copy of the referral is here
Aboriginal Customary Law
In February 2007 the then Attorney-General requested the Committee inquire into and report upon the issue of the recognition of aboriginal customary law as a source of law in the Northern Territory. This was an issue which arose from an earlier Northern Territory Law Society report into customary law.
An information paper which collates the background information to such recognition and previous evidence in this regard previously submitted to this committee, the 1998 Constitutional Convention and the earlier Sessional Committee on Constitutional Developed is currently being prepared for tabling in the Assembly in November 2008.
Inquiry on Northern Territory Indigenous Affairs
On 22 May 2002, the Committee, having regard to the resolution of the Legislative Assembly of 25 October 2001 in providing additional terms of reference, resolved among other things, to conduct an inquiry into matters relating to Indigenous governance in the Northern Territory, in particular, the examination of appropriate relationships that should exist between the Indigenous people/communities of the Northern Territory, the Northern Territory Government and the wider Territory community:
(a) under the present constitutional/legislative arrangements applying in the Northern Territory; and
(b) whether those arrangements might have influence upon a future grant of Statehood to the Northern Territory; including
(c) the question whether the Northern Territory Government should enter into a Framework Agreement or Agreements with the representatives of those Indigenous people/communities.
In elaborating on Framework Agreements, the Committee took into account its 1999 Report into Appropriate Means to Facilitate Statehood which included a discussion of the interests of the Indigenous people of the Northern Territory as part of any grant of Statehood. The report also discussed the subject of a possible Framework Agreement for the Northern Territory, that is, an agreement between the Northern Territory Government, and the representatives of the Indigenous people of the Northern Territory, concerning a range of issues of vital interest to the two parties, and setting out a framework within which the relationship between the two could or should be developed in the future.
Although this Inquiry is not directly tied to Statehood, the Committee is aware that the outcome of this Inquiry is an issue critical to the future success of Statehood.
The Committee has prepared a Discussion Paper in respect of this matter:
Discussion Paper No.1 - Inquiry on Northern Territory Indigenous Affairs: Examination of Structural Relationships in Indigenous Affairs and Indigenous Governance within the Northern Territory - June 2002
Inquiry into Appropriate Measures to Facilitate Statehood
One of the major tasks undertaken by this Committee was to conduct an inquiry into and report on reasons for the failure of the Northern Territory Referendum of October 1998 and to ascertain support for the Northern Territory gaining Statehood by 2001.
The Committee was also required to recommend to the Assembly appropriate means whereby community support for Statehood could be achieved.
A list of all Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee reports and publications can be found here
Ms Julia Knight
GPO Box 3721
DARWIN NT 0801
Telephone: (08) 8901 4149