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Hodgman recalls his front page
Former Capital Territory minister Michael Hodgman was a supporter of self-government and pushed the idea in
the first edition of The Chronicle on September 16, 1981, right.
FORMER Capital Territory minister
Michael Hodgman said he was disap-
pointed with the way the self-
government issue played out in the
nation's capital in the 1980s.
The front page of the first edition of
The Chronicle, published on Sept-
ember 16, 1981, featured a story with
Mr Hodgman speaking about the
possibility of the ACT gaining self-
In the article, Mr Hodgman said if a
reasonable and feasible proposal was
put to him on self-government that had
the support of the Canberra com-
munity, he would support it.
However, much to his dismay, no
public support came for a self-
government proposal while Mr Hodg-
man was minister.
''I was the first minister for the ACT
to publicly encourage debate on self-
government for the ACT and I pushed
very strongly for it,'' he told The
Chronicle last week.
''I told the people of Canberra I
would not force self-government on
them against their wishes, but if they
genuinely wanted self-government I
was their man and I would give them
150 per cent support.
''Sadly, I was very disappointed
when the people did not take up this
Mr Hodgman thought a fear cam-
paign was behind Canberrans' reluc-
tance to pursue self-governance.
''I think many people thought they
would be better off staying as they
were,'' he said.
''And there were senior public
servants telling people they would get
less funding from the Commonwealth
Government if they went to self-
government and said rates and charges
would rocket up, which was all
Mr Hodgman said the ACT Govern-
ment that was established in 1988 was
not the model he had envisaged while
he was minister. ''I ceased to be the
minister on election day in 1983 when
we were defeated by Labor and the
issue was not really pushed after that,''
''And what ended up happening is
not what should have been.
''I would have liked to have seen the
ACT have a proper parliament like the
states with an upper and lower house,
but that didn't happen.
''I still have people in Canberra tell
me that if the government had been set
up that way, we would have the finest
national capital in the world.''
While disappointed with the self-
government issue, Mr Hodgman said
he thoroughly enjoyed his three years
as Capital Territory minister, in which
he was heavily involved in the com-
mencement of construction of the new
Parliament House, establishing a new
High Court of Australia building,
substantial improvements to the Aust-
ralian War Museum, and landscaping
of old Parliament House.
''I was very proud of my time as
minister for the Capital Territory, it
was like being premier of a state,'' he
''I sang the praises of Canberra right
around Australia, New Zealand, the
UK, the US and every country I could
Mr Hodgman, 72, only last year
ended his political career when he
decided not to recontest his seat in the
Tasmanian Government. Now retired,
he resides in his old home town of
Kingston Beach, just south of Hobart.
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