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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4493..


Miles Franklin Primary School

Valedictory

MRS DUNNE (9.48): Last night, as we were adjourning, I heard the minister for education wax lyrical about Miles Franklin Primary School. As a parent of a Miles Franklin Primary School pupil, I would like to echo his comments. As a consumer of primary school education for 21 years, I have known no better school.

But to the season, Mr Speaker. There has been a lot of brouhaha in recent weeks about Santa and Christmas in preschools and child-care centres across the country. It is good to see that in ACT preschools we have not shirked Santa or shied away from the message of Christmas. This was brought home to me at carols I went to last week, when I discovered that my four-year-old, Conor, knew "O Little Town of Bethlehem"and "Away in a Manger". I said, "Where did you learn those?"He said, "Preschool."So I am pleased.

This is Christmas. Recently we have acknowledged the major feasts of other faiths: Hanukkah, which I would have attended, except I was too sick to do so and did not want impose myself on the public, and Ramadan. Although the fastest growing religion in Australia is now Wicca, we are still a predominantly Christian nation. Christmas is a Christian feast and we should not shirk away from it. Whether or not we believe in the commemoration of the birth of the Messiah, the sentiments and the spirit of Christmas-peace on earth and goodwill to men-are sentiments we can all embrace. This year, through uncertainty and tragedy, the message is more poignant and more apposite than usual.

In that spirit, I thank all members of this house and their staff, members of the secretariat-the Clerk and all his staff and the committee staff-and all the people who make this place run. I thank my colleagues in the opposition. I thank my staff: Kate, Olivia, and especially Norm, who writes all the speeches. To my family-Lyle, Olivia, Tom, Julia, Isabella and Conor-who put up with me I say thank you very much.

Valedictory

MR HARGREAVES (9.50): I want to express my appreciation to a number of people who have supported the Assembly in the past year. The Hansard people have done an exemplary job. How they are able to translate our mumblings and grumblings I do not know.

Mr Smyth: Speak up, John.

MR HARGREAVES: For the deaf, the blind and the illiterate on the other side, Hansard have done a great job. Keith and the troops have been fantastic.

To the library staff I express my appreciation. I think they do a great job. They are unsung heroines. They are always there to support us, and we need to say so whenever we can. I am happy to put it on the record.


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