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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 484..

MR SPEAKER (continuing):

proceeds. It is now 13 days since this debate occurred, included in which there were three other sitting days when members could have raised these issues. So, as there is no debate continuing at this point, and given that Mr Stefaniak has raised a number of issues, I intend to look at these quotations in the context of the debate that occurred and announce my decision in relation to these at some later time. In the meantime I think what I will also do is table Mr Stefaniak's letter, as he has indicated that he would find that acceptable—

Mr Stefaniak: Yes.

MR SPEAKER: and ask the Clerk to make sure it finds its way into each member's hands.

Mr Stefaniak: Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Motion (by Mr Corbell ) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Ms Malalai Joya

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (4.42): Mr Speaker, last Friday morning we were fortunate to have a visit to this Assembly from a most inspiring woman from the Afghan parliament, Malalai Joya, and I congratulate Dr Foskey on sponsoring the visit. At just 27 years of age, she is not only the youngest member of the Afghan parliament but also one of only a few women in that assembly. Malalai was seemingly shy at first. However, once she got going and delved into the struggles of her nation, it was pretty clear that we were hearing from a true heroine. She spoke passionately and is determined to bring justice to her people by exposing corrupt people, drug lords, war criminals and perpetrators of violence against women, some of whom are her fellow parliamentarians.

Malalai fled Afghanistan at the age of four and, like many of her peers, spent years in refugee camps in Iran and then Pakistan. She returned to Afghanistan in 1998 and established an orphanage, a health clinic and literacy courses to teach other women, a most laudable achievement. The fact that Malalai did all that while the Taliban were still in power is just astonishing. However, her remarkable achievements did not end there. Malalai remained a strong dissident of the Taliban regime and was elected to the 249-seat national assembly in September 2005, representing the remote province of Farah.

A current policy measure which Malalai is vehemently opposing is parliamentary attempts to introduce an amnesty for war criminals who accept the country's constitution. She is calling for support from the International Criminal Court to bring them to justice, as she has exhausted attempts at a domestic level. She was scathing of some of her fellow parliamentarians. Even the ones that are not corrupt are weak. She said that they need to stand up to the powerful war lords if Afghanistan is going to have any hope of rebuilding the country.

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