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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1589..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

cut out, she stitched, she sewed, she hung, she decorated and she did a wonderful job. Cecilia had to be dragged-she is not the sort of person that would willingly go-onto the stage and I think the audience was particularly delighted with her response and the way she accepted the praise. Bob and Cecilia did a spectacular job on the night.

The people that supported and sponsored the awards included groups such as Canberra FM radio, Tooheys, Ainsworth Gaming, Capital Gaming, International Gaming, Bradley Allen lawyers, Cadbury Schweppes, Rentworks, Cre8tive Multimedia, Carlton & United Breweries and Aristocrat Technologies. Thank you for supporting the clubs. Although you clearly get business out them, it is important that you do sponsor the people that look after us as a community. So well done to all on the night, but particularly to Bob and Cecilia. Congratulations on running a wonderful event.

Defence budget

MR STEFANIAK (5.19): It was a great evening. Mr Speaker, I rise to make a comment about what probably will be in the federal budget to be brought down very shortly this evening. I am very pleased to see the media speculation-and I think the federal government has indicated this-that there will be a significant increase in the defence budget. I have been greatly concerned that over about the last 15 years the defence budget has been whittled down from around about 3 per cent of GDP to much less than 2 per cent. The 2000 white paper finally redressed that real problem.

Those opposite can groan but the first duty of any government is the defence of its citizens. We live in a very nasty world and Australia is certainly quite likely to be under threat at some time. We were woefully unprepared for World War II and we were somewhat lucky to escape our continent being invaded then. It was a very close run thing. We have some wonderful people in our defence forces and I think we owe it to the brave men and women who defend Australia to see that they are adequately equipped to do their jobs. We, in this place often talk about ensuring that, in a territory and state context, people-nurses, teachers, police and community workers-have the tools and are adequately equipped to do their job. And rightly so-that is our responsibility.

On the national scene, I think it is absolutely essential that our service men and women have the tools to do their job of defending their country, which is, I think, one of the most crucial jobs of all. As Jocelyn Newman once said back in the eighties, you can have the greatest social security system in the world but it is pointless if you cannot defend yourself. I think the likelihood that there will be significant increases in defence expenditure in the budget is a very positive sign. Defence has been a poor cousin for far too long and I look forward to seeing some sensible increases there which will enable our very brave service men and women to do their crucially important job properly.

Drugs in schools

MR PRATT (5.21): Mr Speaker, I would like to respond to something that Ms Tucker said during her presentation this afternoon on the matter of public importance. Ms Tucker is quite correct to say that the 38 per cent increase in 16-year-old girls using needles reflected a shift from 1.8 to 2.7 per cent of the control group. But I do believe she is being rather precious and is misrepresenting the message that I was intending to portray, which is that the trend lines are up not down over the two reports. There is,


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