Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3593..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
hard with other Australian citizens, and people from around the world, to protect them and end the harm that we have caused through the war that has been raging in Iraq.
MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Arts and Heritage, and Acting Minister for Health) (9.23), in reply: Let me add my voice. Mr Stanhope was addressing a very fine event at the Albert Hall. I think that is what you are talking about. Mr Stanhope was not particularly aware, in my brief conversation with him, of a function at Olims hotel. I went to the Albert Hall for a function to raise funds for an orphanage in Baghdad, and a very fine lady was raising funds. Maybe you are quite misinformed, which is not surprising.
I went to a function where Mr Stanhope was present. I think this is the issue. It was a major event at the Albert Hall-a very fine event packed out with very fine Canberrans, a large number of whom were of the Islamic faith, although not all, because it was a community fundraiser for people suffering from the effects of the war in Iraq. Mr Stanhope was asked to give a speech. He gave a fine speech in which he said pretty much what he has said here: that he feels deeply for the people of Baghdad and that the war was an unjust war. It was in fact a fairly moderate speech.
I can tell you, Mr Pratt, that he was enthusiastically received by everybody in that hall. There was no dissension, no bitterness and no angst. He was enthusiastically received. I suspect that you are grossly misinformed and you should, I think, thoroughly examine what you hear before you come into this place and make allegations that are quite wrong, in any event.
MR PRATT: Mr Deputy Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Proceed.
MR PRATT: Firstly, I take Ms Dundas's point. I was simply being casual and clever with words. I did not mean to call Ms Mulhearn "gorgeous"; that was not the point I was making.
Mrs Cross: You can call us gorgeous, if you want!
MR PRATT: No. Secondly, I was not attacking the Iraqi friendship society. I was talking about the fact that the Chief Minister sought to attend an activity involving a particular speaker, not the body of people involved. Thirdly, I have never attacked the Australian Muslim community and I am not about to start doing that, either. Fourthly, having worked in Iraq, I have attended Iraqi friendship society fundraising activities and will continue to do so.
The Assembly adjourned at 9.26 pm until Tuesday, 17 August 2004 at 10.30 am.