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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2390..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

Chief Minister, speaking to what was in effect a Muslim audience, nominated the former Israeli Prime Minister, Mrs Golda Meir, as a paragon of "tolerance and understanding".

Mrs Meir was a woman, a politician and a leader with some very fine qualities, and I find myself in agreement with the Chief Minister that she was indeed a paragon of tolerance and understanding, and a worthy role model indeed. But given the precarious situation in the Middle East, I cannot help wondering whether it might have been less provocative to invoke the name of someone other than Mrs Meir amongst a Muslim gathering. Did it not cross the Chief Minister's mind, or might his advisers have suggested a more judicious choice, given the nature of his audience? Is this the actions of a klutz or an example of sheer chutzpah?

There are many aspects to leadership and when the Chief Minister accepts an invitation in an official capacity he is there representing all of us-all the people of Canberra. So if he behaves or speaks inappropriately, it reflects upon us. If what happened was correctly reported, it was an exercise in poor judgment; it was an act of insensitivity, however well intentioned; and it bespeaks a certain naivety that one would not expect to find in a person holding the office that Mr Stanhope does.

Appointment of special magistrate

MR STEFANIAK (5.38): Mr Speaker, I rise to offer my congratulations to the latest appointment to the judiciary. I was interested to see who would be the first person the current Attorney-General would appoint. I congratulate Grant Lalor on his appointment as a special magistrate. Grant Lalor is a long-standing lawyer in our community. He did some service initially as a private solicitor in New Guinea and, amongst his other accomplishments, he speaks pidgin English very well. In about 1978 he worked in the Deputy Crown Solicitor's office, then the DPP, and he moved to the Commonwealth DPP some years ago. People might have seen his name as appearing regularly for the Commonwealth in prosecutions in the Supreme Court.

I had the pleasure of working with Grant for some nine and a bit years in the Director of Public Prosecutions office. He is a most capable lawyer. I think he will bring a certain robustness to the bench, which will greatly assist it. He is certainly expert in the criminal law. I welcome his appointment and I congratulate him on it.

Ms Maureen Weeks

MS TUCKER (5.39): I would like to join with Mrs Dunne in acknowledging the contribution Maureen Weeks has made in this Assembly. I had not realised that this would be the last sitting day on which we have the opportunity to say something about her work in this place.

I would like to acknowledge that I remember how much I appreciated Maureen's professional and good-natured support during my very early days in the Assembly. She was prepared to be quite feisty and strong on occasions, but she always had a total commitment to proper process and proper understanding of our responsibilities in this place. That support has been incredibly important to me and, as a new member, it was support I needed.


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