Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (15 March) . . Page.. 678..
MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (6.00): I rise this evening to talk about two matters, one local and the other one international. The local matter relates to Reusable Nappy Week, which runs from 19 to 25 March. I understand this is the second year this has run and that there are more events in Canberra this year than there were for the inaugural week. The local events include information sessions, displays, workshops and gatherings, and they will occur at the Canberra Hospital on Wednesday, 21 March from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm in the main foyer; on Thursday, 22 March from 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm at Campbell Cottage Childcare Centre at Campbell; on Friday, 23 March at the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm; and on Saturday, 24 March from 10.00 am till 2.00 pm at the Lifestyle Centre, Hyperdome, Athllon Drive, Tuggeranong.
A constituent came to speak to me today about the issue of reusable nappies, and it is my understanding from what I have been presented with that, as well as being environmentally sensitive, they can also save people who use these nappies quite a deal of money—save them lots and lots of money in fact. I have a brochure here that says that reusable nappies are friendly to the environment, you do not need to use as many, they are much easier to use and, unlike disposable nappies, they breathe.
The second matter that I want to refer to briefly this evening in the remaining time is one that is much more grave in nature and that is the current situation in Zimbabwe. I am sure that all members were shocked at the arrests and beatings on Sunday of members of the opposition parties who were making their way to—I understand they did not refer to it as a rally—a religious meeting organised by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign coalition. Obviously we all would say that we detest the use of violence against people who are making political representation.
I note that today—I got a press release just this afternoon—the South African government has put out a statement, which I do welcome, on the current situation in Zimbabwe. I think that is where the real key lies: in Zimbabwe's surrounding neighbours coming out and placing pressure on the government of Zimbabwe, trying to pressure them into change, allowing for an effective opposition to be able to work and for free and fair elections to take place.
We can only do so much from here in Australia, but I think it is important that we all, as parliamentarians, get up and express our concern when we see these things happening. Of course the situation in Zimbabwe is nothing new—there has been oppression in Zimbabwe for a long time—but it seems to be spiralling fairly dramatically at the moment, and to see the likes of Morgan Tsvangirai being beaten to such a state where they cannot appear in court because they have to go and have blood transfusions is highly distressing.
I urge all of us to send Amnesty International an email urging change within Zimbabwe and for change to occur by pressure from the surrounding countries' governments.