A diplomatic slight to the office of the ACT Chief Minister shows no sign of being fixed, more than 30 years after the territory was granted self government and more than a decade since the matter was raised with Commonwealth officials.
The Commonwealth table of precedence, which sets out the seniority of office holders from the governor-general, the prime minister, state and territory leaders, right through to knights, dames and judges, has not been updated since 1982. It means the ACT Chief Minister is not included in the list.
The guide includes rankings of lord mayors, opposition leaders, Privy Counsellors, consuls, consuls-general and Commonwealth department secretaries.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr has again asked the ACT Head of Service, Kathy Leigh, to write to her counterpart in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to request the table be updated.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet said in a statement earlier this month it was working on amendments to the table.
"They will be gazetted in due course," a spokesperson said.
But the department has been aware of the issue for more than 10 years. The matter was first raised with the department after then chief minister Jon Stanhope instructed territory officials to make contact in 2010.
This was prompted by Terence Palmer, a Canberran who has now been regularly writing to ACT and Commonwealth officials about the oversight since June 2010.
Then foreign minister Julie Bishop advised Mr Palmer in December 2014 changes would be gazetted in 2015, but no changes were made.
Ms Bishop also wrote that at no time since the first chief minister, Rosemary Follett, took office in 1989 had the ACT leader "not been accorded the same courtesies and precedence as the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory or Norfolk Island".
Mr Palmer said it had been frustrating to receive promises that it was soon to be fixed, and then find the error remained and nothing appeared to be done about it.
"It's just something that's frustrating, that something as simple - and I acknowledge there are bigger problems in the world at the moment, but one person could resolve that," Mr Palmer said.
Mr Palmer, who emigrated to Australia from South Africa, became interested in the table of precedence when he was learning about Australia's system of government.
"I just thought I would let somebody know it was wrong," Mr Palmer said in 2015.
"When I picked up on it, it's something people said they would come back to me about. I forgot about it, and remembered every so often and sent another email or letter. I thought hell, I can't get any joy from anyone."
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