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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3479..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

Sally Lilienthal was born in 1919, so she lived a very good long life. She studied sculpture and became known for innovative work in plastic and resin. She co-founded the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artists Gallery and served as director until 1983.

She began the Ploughshares Fund with a grant of $100,000. She said, "I had a little money and I wanted to make it work in the most creative and practical way."So she decided to work to help bring peace into the world, using as her inspiration that text from the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament:

... they shall forge their swords into ploughshares ... neither shall they learn war any more.

Of course, anyone who lived through the 1960s remembers the line, "I ain't gon' study war, no more!"One recipient of Ploughshares funding was a group of American scientists who travelled to the Soviet Union and found that underground nuclear tests could be detected with modern seismic monitors. That meant it would be possible to have a ban on nuclear testing, and how important has that been? Other recipients include Japanese nuclear scientists who worked to prevent the stockpiling of plutonium in Japan and the author of a paper on the history of Israel's secret nuclear weapons program. They are just some of the projects funded by the Ploughshares Fund and they will, of course, outlast its founder.

The other matter I want to mention is a local matter that probably would not make the news. Unfortunately, these things do not. The Howard government recently disbanded its indigenous youth leadership group at a time when I would say they should be talking to indigenous people, especially young people, more than ever. It has abolished the group and mainstreamed it into that general youth representative body, the National Youth Roundtable, which, coincidentally, replaced the Australian Youth Policy and Action Coalition, which started with 50 people, went down to 30 in 2005 and now is also meant to represent the youth representative body. I do not know whether the National Youth Roundtable is a middle-class body like the youth advisory council was accused of being, but it is probably not the best group to represent indigenous young people.

I think we all know that indigenous people are less likely to finish school, get a job or go to university, are more likely to be imprisoned and have health issues like substance abuse. They need independent avenues so that their needs and issues can be represented and echoed back to the government. It is so important to foster indigenous youth leadership right now, given the dismantling of indigenous representative structures in Australia and the current void that exists in public policy debates.

I join with Tanya Plibersek, who is responsible for the media release that has informed me of this lamentable situation. All those who are concerned about the future of indigenous people should be making a big fuss about the disbanding of this group.

Mental illness

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.59): Mr Speaker, I wish to bring the attention of members and, through the Assembly, the community to a conference that was held from 1 to 3


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