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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 3236..


MRS BURKE (continuing):

I also refer members to a matter raised today about the Big Issue. Mr Speaker, our office became involved in the Big Issue-and I will give some information to members about that in a moment-as a result of joining a homeless, and potentially homeless, gathering of people for breakfast outside the Assembly about a month ago. Some members may remember that.

I find it rather unfortunate and a bit sad that the good and honourable intentions of my senior staffer were taken so out of context by Ms Tucker. In fact, some fairly disparaging comments were made about him. I think members should decide for themselves. Briefly, an email was sent around to members, which talks about the Big Issue. It reads:

The Big Issue is an Australian independent current affairs magazines sold on the streets by homeless people. The philosophy is to positively change the lives of homeless people (the vendors) by instilling a real sense of personal worth, value and responsibility. The Big Issue was first launched in London back in 1991 and in Australia in 1996. The most recent mag has just come off the press and costs only $3.00 with the vendor receiving $1.50 from every magazine.

Clearly Justine is homeless but that's cool with us and her. She is very bubbly and quite excited about coming into the Assembly.

In other words, the intention of my senior staffer was to dispel the stigma that sometimes goes with these people. He was calling a spade a spade, and Justine was really happy with that. This was the best advice that we were given at the time. And it is not a matter of me finding her a home, as Ms Tucker was trying to suggest. I think she has taken things out of context. My senior staffer goes on to say:

SO if you'd like a seriously good read - and I guarantee it is otherwise I wouldn't be pushing it - then pop into our office between 12.45 and 1.45 this Thursday. Have a chat with Justine and give her a hand.

Under your instruction, Mr Speaker, we realised that that was not appropriate. Justine, as some would have seen-indeed, the Chief Minister went to talk to Justine and buy a magazine from her-was outside the Assembly today. I just wanted to clear those matters up with members. Thank you.

Education

MR PRATT (10.22): I want to talk about two issues. First, I congratulate Reece Coleman, who I had the good fortune to have in for morning tea a few days ago with his mum, Michelle, the acting principal of his school, Judy Pettiford, and the deputy principal of the school, Diana Wymark. Reece Coleman is the school captain of Wanniassa and also chair of the ACT government schools student network. He is one of 10 Australian students, and the only ACT student, who will represent Australia at the International Student Representative Council Conference in Canada in August.

Canberra can be very proud of young Reece Coleman. He is a wonderful role model for his school and for other students across the ACT. He is a real breath of fresh air and a nice chap to talk to. The school principal and deputy were just in awe whenever he opened his mouth to give an opinion about a range of matters. I was pleased to see that


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