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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3828..


MR SPEAKER: That is not a point of order either. Resume your seat. The question was asked and it was fully answered. Whether you like the contents of the answer is a matter that you are just going to have to agitate around. But it has been fully answered.

Reconciliation

MR HARGREAVES: My question is addressed to the Chief Minister, and I will not need a supplementary question because I am sure that the question will be fully answered on the first go. Chief Minister, what progress is the government making towards reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people of the ACT?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves. That is a timely question. There was a very significant function at lunchtime today, a lunch that I attended along with Mr Smyth and my colleagues Mrs Cross and Ms Dundas. I apologise to Ms Dundas. I did not recognise you at the lunch; I was not aware of your presence. I am sorry about that. But it was a very significant lunch, attended by four leading Canberra organisations-the ACT Chamber of Commerce, BusinessACT, the Property Owners Association, and the Chamber of Women in Business.

They acknowledged that they had signed pledges to reconciliation on behalf of their organisations. I think that is a very significant thing for those major organisations from the business community to be doing. It was a lunch which was well attended by members of the ACT business community. There was, I have to say, a very significant presence of property owners. I believe the entire board of the Hellenic Club were in attendance, as was the Ngunnawal Elders Council. There were also significant numbers of representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, BusinessACT, the Chamber of Women in Business and the Property Owners Association.

I say that, in a way, by way of digression, Mr Hargreaves, but the question is timely and it is appropriate that I acknowledge the significant thing that those organisations have done. It is also appropriate that I inform members, in the context of discussion around reconciliation and indigenous matters, that the Ngunnawal Elders Council, which the government has supported in its establishment, met yesterday to discuss a range of issues of concern to the Ngunnawal people in the ACT.

They had a number of items on their agenda. They are a new organisation comprising 12 elders, representing 12 different branches or sections of the broader Ngunnawal community. They are enthusiastic, but, I guess, sober in their acknowledgment of the challenges that face indigenous people continually in terms of the level and extent of disadvantage which they suffer, and in relation to the need for reconciliation and the ongoing discussion and debate surrounding it.

But I take the existence of the Ngunnawal Elders Council and its presence at the function today as a very positive and great sign of the progress we can make. I say that similarly about the pledges to reconciliation that were made today and the involvement of the two co-chairs of ACT Reconciliation, Matilda House and John Murray. The enormous role played by the Australian Federal Police in the reconciliation process in the ACT is a credit to the AFP, extending to all of its officers to the extent that they are involved in reconciliation in the ACT. Of course, they are integral to success in a whole range of


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