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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 4 Hansard (17 March) . . Page.. 1214..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Thirdly, I want to speak of a very brave and courageous act, and a very responsible act, by Steve Larkham, Brumbies and Australian five-eighth. Steve had a melanoma on the inside of his knee. He attended to it quickly. He spoke out forthrightly about it. Because he is a public figure, his quick action will be an inspiration to other people to see to these things before cancer can take hold. Well done, Steven Larkham.

Fourthly, I add my congratulations to the Charnwood carnival and its organisers. It was the second Charnwood carnival, an absolutely brilliant event. Unfortunately, I had family business elsewhere and was not able to participate like I did last year when I handed out about a couple of hundred certificates to kids. I thoroughly look forward to participating next year.

Finally, I urge the government to look at the sentences imposed for serious crimes in New South Wales. There has been some concern expressed by victims' relatives that the sentence imposed on Hillier for murder of 18 years, with 13 years to serve, was light. In New South Wales in recent times, 20 years has been the normal non-parole period for similar offences.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The member's time has expired.

St Patrick's Day

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella-Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.30): I wish to join with all those Canberrans with an Irish background in celebrating the most significant date in the Irish calendar, St Patrick's Day. St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born about AD 385. I am not sure of the month, the day of the week or the time of the afternoon, so that is why I say about AD 385.

St Patrick's mission in Ireland lasted for 30 years. He travelled throughout the country establishing monasteries, schools and churches, which assisted in his conversion of the Irish people to Christianity. He died on this day in AD 461. Originally a Catholic holy day, St Patrick's Day has become a secular holiday and Ireland's national day. For those really ancient people here who have ever lived in Melbourne, St Patrick's Day in Melbourne is an absolute buzz. It is a blast. I can remember marching down Bourke Street on St Pat's day with what appeared to be half a million Marist Brothers kids.

A traditional icon of St Patrick's Day is a shamrock. An Irish tale tells how Patrick used a three-leaf shamrock to explain the trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day. Today, as we know, people celebrate the day with parades, the wearing of the green and drinking Guinness.

The Irish have made their mark in Canberra and St Patrick's Day in the nation's capital is a significant event that also involves many members of the wider Canberra community. Currently some 1,000 Canberrans can claim direct Irish descent and 42,000 claim Irish ancestry. This Irish influence is pervasive, as indicated by the


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