Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (14 March) . . Page.. 582..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
this country and it is his vision that we actually enjoy today. We will be commemorating that with this statue when it is unveiled.
The fact that the ACT is an island in Australia in a sea of racial discrimination fostered by the Prime Minister is why we are commemorating Al Grassby. Talking about statues, the statue of little Johnny Howard the digger is standing on the sands of the beach head of Bermagui. Don't we feel safe! Mr Speaker, this motion is a joke. Al Grassby was a bigger man than are the people opposite collectively.
At 6.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted and the resumption of the debate was made an order of the day for the next sitting. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly was put.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.00): I really think that the politicians in this place need to lighten up about our public art. We have had today a motion opposing the installation of a statue of Al Grassby. I think that that demonstrates a very po-faced attitude to our public art and also, I would say, a kind of a discrimination against who is allowed to be the subject of a statue. I might say that I oppose the statue being erected, because Mr Grassby was not a woman. Where are the statues in Canberra of famous women? But I will have to be satisfied with the very grand statue of Ethos outside. I do not think anyone would argue that she is an inappropriate woman to have.
Why don't we set up a veritable rogues gallery, Mr Speaker? Let us start with Mr Grassby. Some people do not like Al Grassby, and they will never like Al Grassby. That is the way it is with politicians. We seem to inspire hate in some and, apparently, reverence in others. Let those who will hate, hate; and let those who will love, love. Let us bring little Johnny up from the coast. I was very saddened to see that the artist Greg Taylor does not think Canberra is worthy of this fantastic statue. Mind you, it is one that he cast in bronze, so that it will not suffer the same fate as Elizabeth Regina suffered when she was sitting on a bench beside her Prince Phillip, all ready for a skinny-dip, and somebody took off her head. If that one had been made of bronze, that head would still be there and we would have been able to genuflect, as we wished, as we did our morning runs along the lake.
I can envisage any number of people. In fact, Mr Stefaniak listed some of them today. I would be very happy to have all of them in our rogues gallery. That is what I would call it, because I do not have any particular reverence for politicians above other people. In fact, I celebrate the ordinariness of politicians, and I think that the more ordinary we are, the better we will be liked.
The second thing that I would like to say is: are we having a discussion about multiculturalism again? Who owns the word? That is what I think the discussion has been about today. Is it Mr Grassby? Is it Mr Fraser. Is it Jerzy Zubrzycki, who, as we know public servants do, beavered away for years before a concept actually entered the public arena? Mr Zubrzycki, however, is a man who probably would not be commemorated, because the essence of a good public servant is that he remains behind the politicians that he serves. So there we go: let's have Mr Grassby up there.