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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 99..


Recognition of indigenous people

MS TUCKER (4.45): Mr Speaker, I take this opportunity to comment on the fact that you have acknowledged that we are meeting on Ngunnawal land. I understand Mr Cornwell has different views. When we introduced the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags to this parliament, I recall that Mr Cornwell stood down from his Speaker's chair and spoke passionately against the flags being brought in here.

I support the fact-I was one of the people who suggested it-that we as a parliament should acknowledge the traditional owners and that we are on Ngunnawal land. I think it has become very broadly accepted in the Australian community that as a nation we have to heal as much as we can the wounds of the sad history of this country and the first people of this country.

I see a recognition of this from the churches. At the celebration of the Peoplescape and the concert at Parliament House there was an acknowledgment of traditional owners. In fact, an elder was invited to welcome to country. For me, it is a real step when we see the federal parliament moving in that direction. I know other parliaments do it. We are not the first state or territory parliament to pay respect to indigenous people.

It is not about reconciliation, necessarily. I have a sense of discomfort within reconciliation, because I feel we have never been reconciled to reconciliation. It is about acknowledging our history and acknowledging a need for healing. It is about bringing into the minds of elected representatives what our history is. Whatever we are now is not separate from what has been. In my view, it is important to understand that that is what this is about. It is about saying who we are now. It is about what has happened in the past. What has happened to indigenous people in past is to be deplored, and we should be sorry about it.

That gives us a space to move as elected representatives, which hopefully will mean that we in this place have a consciousness about issues for indigenous people. Mr Stanhope has said that he means to focus on that area in this Assembly in this term of government. I support that and I look forward to seeing it enacted through policies and services, through respect and through community control for indigenous people of this community. The reality is that they are extremely disadvantaged in society across Australia. We have not progressed very far. I think this acknowledgment is more than symbolic. It is very important for us as representatives in this place to have that understanding of our history in our work as we continue, hopefully, to progress towards a much more just society.

Liberal Party policy on Gungahlin

Land development costs

Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation

MR SMYTH (4.49): Mr Speaker, I rise to correct something Mr Corbell said in question time today. He insisted that the Liberal Party had abandoned the child-care needs of the people of Gungahlin. If Mr Corbell had bothered to consult our policy and what we would have done if we had been re-elected, he would have seen that it says:


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