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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (29 May) . . Page.. 1148..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

a trip was planned. Then we get another contradiction on ABC radio from Mr Stanhope. We have an extraordinary set of events. Today we find out that he will not come to the first week of the estimates process because he now seems to be not in Canberra.

You have to ask the question: "what is so important that the Chief Minister and Treasurer cannot appear to deliver his budget and discuss it with the estimates committee? The Treasurer should make himself available at an early point in the estimates hearing.

I emphasise two matters. As a member of the opposition, I will always seek to make the estimates process as effective as possible. I will always seek to hold the government of the day to account, in spite of the unmerited abuse from the Chief Minister. What he should do in return is extend to the community, the committee members, the visiting members and the Assembly the same courtesy and be available early so that we all gain a better and fuller understanding so that we can get an accurate picture of his budget. (Time expired.)

Motorcycle Riders Association—blanket run

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.52): Today I talk about a couple of important events for the ACT motorcycle community. This Assembly is well aware of my long-term interest in motorcycling and my affiliation with the Motorcycle Riders Association. I am proud to be part of this organisation and was pleased to see Kate Lundy and Gary Humphries as well as some of my fellow Assembly members—Mary Porter, Bill Stefaniak and Jacqui Burke—out in the crisp, fresh autumn air for the latest 2007 MRA blanket run.

For those unaware of or who perhaps missed my toy run speech last December, the MRA is an organisation formed to protect and further the interests of motorcycling in the ACT. The MRA of Australia, founded in Melbourne in May 1978, is a non-profit organisation and is aimed at providing a link between riders, the government and the general public. It is an organisation designed to work towards improved road safety, driver training and rider education and to raise and improve the image of motorcyclists and motorcycling in the ACT. Members may have read today's Canberra Times article reporting an immediate response by the MRA to the most recent tragedy on Canberra's roads.

Just as important is the MRA's role in participating actively in charity and community service events. It was through this organisation and event that the motorcycle riders of the ACT came together a couple of weeks ago to raise awareness for two worthwhile causes, St John's care and the Smith Family appeal. I do not think we need to go into details about the organisations, as I am sure members are aware of what they strive to achieve. It is important that we continue to recognise this and use our position to help raise awareness.

This event, the MRA's blanket run, has been running for 26 years and has a proud history and association with these two charitable organisations. In 2007, it again had a terrific turnout—roughly 200 riders this year. Thanks again to our wonderful, giving

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