Australia backs turning Northern Territory into seventh state

MEDIA CALL: Gillard, Abbott to hold Q&A session at Rooty Hill RSL Wednesday, 11 August 2010 from 6.00pm Sydney, Australia, August 9, 2010 – Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will be holding a people’s forum at Rooty Hill RSL on Wednesday, 11 August 2010 from 6.00pm. The event will be facilitated by political editor David Speers and telecast live across Australia. The audience, which will include approximately 200 swinging voters from Western Sydney chosen by Galaxy Research, as well as media representatives, will have the opportunity to ask the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader questions related to their policies and in particular, how it affects the local community. Gillard, Abbott Q&A session details Date:         Wednesday, 11 August 2010 Time:          6.00pm (media can set up from 5.15pm) Where:       Rooty Hill RSL                   Waratah Room                   55 Sherbrooke Street, Rooty Hill NSW 2766 RSVP: Schedule 6.00pm       Prime Minister Julia Gillard address – Q&A 7.00pm       Break for refreshments 7.30pm       Opposition Leader Tony Abbott address – Q&A 8.30pm       Close A limited number of seats are available for media representatives for this event. To attend this media call or for further information regarding the Gillard, Abbott Q&A session, please contact Christine Kardashian at Dash PR on 02 8084 0705 / 0416 005 703 or email ________________________________________ MEDIA RELEASE: Rooty Hill RSL to host Gillard, Abbott Q&A session Wednesday, 11 August 2010 from 6.00pm Sydney, Australia, August 9, 2010 – Rooty Hill RSL, Australia’s largest RSL club, will host the highly anticipated people’s forum with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. The event will be held on Wednesday, 11 August 2010 from 6.00pm, facilitated by political editor David Speers and telecast live across Australia. Why Rooty Hill RSL? Rooty Hill RSL

Australian political leaders Thursday backed the establishment of the country’s seventh state — the Northern Territory — by mid-2018, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott conceding the national flag could be changed.

The push for the Northern Territory, which has a population of 244,000 but covers a vast area, to be a state was initiated by Chief Minister Adam Giles who said it should not be a “second-class citizen” in Australia.

“When we come together and talk about federation, it would be remiss of me not to raise the issue of the Northern Territory being a second-class citizen, with second-tier status in the nation,” Giles said.

“So I was very pleased to have support from colleagues at the table that I’m at now to see the Northern Territory strive to become a state by 1 July, 2018,” he added after a meeting of Australia’s six state and two mainland territory leaders with Abbott.

Unlike the six states — New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia — the country’s two mainland territories, the NT and the Australian Capital Territory, have a limited right of self-government.

Seven other territories, including the Australian Antarctic Territory and Christmas Island, are governed only by federal laws.

Abbott said he was not in favour of changing the national flag — which features a miniature version of the Union Jack along with an array of stars — but was not against any alterations either.

“(If) the Commonwealth star was to be a seven-pointed star rather than a six-pointed star, that’s hardly a massive change,” the Australian leader said at the same press conference.

“I would say that that is an evolution rather than a revolution. But, look, we all acknowledge that this is a very long-standing aspiration on the part of the Territory… and we are prepared to work with the Territory to see how it can be done.”

An additional point for the prospective northern state would actually give the Commonwealth star eight points rather than seven. The star currently has seven points symbolising the six states, with the last one representing all the territories.

The change could also see additional NT politicians represented in Canberra’s House of Representatives and Senate.

The territory — home to the popular tourist attraction of Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, and with Darwin as its capital — is currently represented by two members of parliament and two senators.

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