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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 488..


MR PRATT (Brindabella) (4.56): Mr Speaker, I rise to talk about the unacceptable events at the weekend around Skyfire and other related activities in and around the city precinct, Civic, as well as the broader lake central basin precinct. Clearly there were difficulties which authorities and the organisers of Skyfire were unable to handle, and I just want to refer to a couple of issues.

Emails from kids, from young people, the majority of whom, of course, went there to behave and enjoy themselves, indicate that many of them found themselves and their colleagues on the end of trouble. One young person said:

Myself and 7 other friends (3 females) were minding our own business, making our way to the general area of stage 88, when a young guy approached us. He asked if we had any smokes, to which we replied no, and then he proposed a fight. "Wanna fight?"he said, to which we replied "No thanks".

That email goes on to describe a series of events involving basically escape and evasion and being outnumbered three to one. Another writer pointed out:

I had a similar experience as you J Dawg ... 5 guys and 4 girls minding our business then out of the blue 10 - 15 guys appeared and accused us of calling some random chick a ...

I will not mention that—

or something. 5 minutes later there were 20 + of them surrounding the 9 of us with no police and no security. I'll just say we spent the rest of the night in the emergency department.

I presume he means Canberra Hospital. There are reports of a young man having thrown himself off a bridge, totally paralytic, and being rescued by the Water Police. Police were hit by flying bottles. One radio caller ringing in to FM 104.7 spoke about seeing a group of drunken teenagers so rowdy that they knocked over an empty pram next to a family and disrupted their evening. I think it was Ms Leanne Close yesterday on radio who indicated that up to 4,000 underage drinkers were estimated by police to be involved in the area, and there were certainly a lot of fights.

The question is: why were there only three arrests on the night? I was very pleased to hear the minister saying on ABC this morning that he is quite concerned about this. I see that he is considering pressing authorities, or at least organisers of such large events, to install dry areas and perhaps limit drinking. He is considering that and I would certainly encourage him and support him in that move, because the point is that there were families attending those events on Saturday night and many families had their night spoilt.

We have had families calling in—I am sure Mr Corbell has received the same calls as I have—saying that they were rather disturbed that their six, eight and nine-year-old kids were watching 14-year-old and 15-year-old teenagers lying around on the grass, throwing up or splayed out across the steps of the national library. It is not a good

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