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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 3 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 801..


MRS BURKE (continuing):

directly on 27 August 2007—Chirnside Place, Kambah. Totterdell Street, Belconnen was brought to the minister's attention on behalf of tenants on 15 February 2007; cars were burnt out two weeks later. Finally, I have tabled many formal complaints, all from public housing tenants in Totterdell Street, Belconnen.

Canberra citizen of the year award

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.09): I would like to use my time in today's adjournment debate to talk about the Canberra citizen of the year ceremony. Firstly, I extend my congratulations to all those who received an award on that day. The Chief Minister's gold awards are a significant recognition of the work and lives of many who have helped to form the Canberra community over the last 50 years. I also offer my sincere congratulations to this year's citizen of the year, John Mackay. I have expressed my support by way of a letter congratulating him on that achievement and that honour. In all of my dealings with John, I have been impressed with his professionalism and his dedication to his role as Chief Executive of ActewAGL. I am sure that he will continue to contribute to the community in his new role as Chairman of Actew. I congratulate him on both his recognition as Canberran of the year and his new role as chair of Actew.

It is unfortunate that I was unable to offer my congratulations to the award winners in person. As an article in the City News pointed out, I, along with all of the other non-government members of this place, was not invited to the awards ceremony. I would hope that this is something of an embarrassment to the government. I can remember receiving an invitation in previous years, and taking up the invitation and attending the ceremony. It is an important day and ceremony for many Canberra residents and provides recognition of many in the community.

I would have expected that, for similar ACT government functions, it would be a matter of courtesy for all members of this place to be invited. From my experience, this is how I believe it has always happened. There may have been an issue in 2004, but this is how it has normally happened in the last several years. I would be extremely disturbed if this were to change just because we are in an election year.

I do not believe that not inviting non-government members to events is the normal practice. I have certainly had the pleasure of attending many events hosted by the ACT government over the last few years. I would urge the Chief Minister to instruct his events and protocol unit to ensure that this does not happen again. If it is the decision of some within the department, or of Mr Lasek or whoever is organising these events, they should be strongly advised that this is not an appropriate way to approach these sorts of events.

I am hoping that this was a one-off. Certainly, judging from revelations in the media about the event, it would seem that this was one government event that did not go off without a hitch. Using a photo of the Hon Joe Hockey with a caption reading, "Canberra Citizen of the Year Award and The Canberra Gold Chief Minister's Award"on a website does not suggest that the Chief Minister's Department was in any way on top of the management of this event. I do accept that mistakes happen, and I see no need to dwell on this unduly.


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