Times Past: May 12, 1989

The Canberra Times front page. May 12, 1989.

The Canberra Times front page. May 12, 1989.

With the last-minute support of the No Self Government Party secured and an arrangement with the Liberal Party, Labor's Rosemary Follett became the ACT's first chief minister, The Canberra Times reported on this day 30 years ago.

No Self Government's David Prowse became the speaker of the Legislative Assembly and Liberal leader Trevor Kaine was declared opposition leader when the Assembly met for the first time at 1 Constitution Avenue.

Self-government in Canberra came into effect shortly before 11am on May 11, when Minister for Arts and Territories Clyde Holding handed three documents to the new Assembly - the signed self-government legislation, the list of elected members and a list of outstanding matters which needed to be considered.

"It is not every day that one has the opportunity to observe the emergence of an entirely new body politic. Power brings with it considerable obligations and responsibilities and I wish the Assembly well in its task of providing the ACT with leadership and good government," he said.

But national media had to watch proceedings on a video screen, with organisers unprepared for the national interest. Only eight local journalists got a spot when the Assembly first sat.