Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 218..
MS MacDONALD (continuing):
nor do we fear for the lives of our family and friends. It is easy to take for granted the conditions we experience as elected representatives and, more generally, as Australian citizens. When we look at the danger and conditions faced by our neighbours, it becomes clear just how fortunate we are.
Our responsibility also becomes clear. East Timor is a fragile democracy and our continued assistance and that of the international community is needed to strengthen that democracy. Immediately following Monday's attack reinforcements to the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force, the ISF, were deployed to East Timor. Sent at the East Timor government's invitation, the troops will allow the ISF to extend its efforts to ensure a stable environment following the attacks. The troops will further assist the Timorese security forces and the UN police who are working together to bring peace to the young democratic country. Independence was a triumph for the East Timorese and this fledgling democracy needs the support of the Australian government and the international community to progress its democratic standing.
Monday's attack showed that there is still much that needs to be done to unify East Timor. However, I am hopeful, as I am sure we all are, that peace can, and will, be achieved and the country will have the opportunity to grow into a strong democratic nation. I wish Dr Ramos-Horta a speedy recovery, and I note that Dr Foskey did so yesterday. We need his strong leadership to assist East Timor to continue to grow as a democracy.
Australian National University School of Music
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (6.18): I would like to speak tonight about the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and the School of Music. Firstly, I congratulate the Chief Minister on calling for a round table on the future of the ANU School of Music. I think he should be applauded for that. In fact, I wrote to the Chief Minister when he announced the initiative and offered my support for that round table. I think that an issue as important as this deserves a bipartisan approach. I would certainly be happy to attend to assist in any way.
The ACT government contributes about $500,000 a year to the School of Music. That is not an insignificant amount. It might be a reasonably small amount in terms of how much the school costs, but it is a significant contribution. The school, of course, is a vital element in the cultural life of Canberra. It is an iconic institution in Canberra, an institution that has spawned many graduate musicians who are now internationally renowned. It has put Canberra on the world stage. It is right up there on the list of institutions of excellence.
It has an international reputation to be envied, and I think we need to make sure that every single stepping stone is turned over and every base covered to protect that reputation and allow the school to grow. Rather than simply accepting that School of Music enrolments are steadily falling, I think we need to see what can be done to enhance promotion of the school using its reputation, its past successes and future innovations as hooks for future student interest and enrolments.
For example, back in 1988 the school hosted the XVIII International Society for Music Education world conference. That attracted some 1,500 educators and