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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 11 Hansard (15 September) . . Page.. 4000..


MR SESELJA (continuing):

Ireland, Mr Hanson who came from England and Mr Coe who, whilst born here, is mainly of English extraction,

It was really quite an honour for me, when I was asked by Ante Sardelic to support the exhibition, to agree. Like Ante, I believe that, regardless of our cultural backgrounds, we all share goals for a positive future for our communities and our families. I believe that we can all be inspired by, and offer inspiration to, people from all countries and cultures.

I would like to thank all of those involved in setting up the exhibition, particularly Mr Sardelic; the Croatian ambassador and staff from the Croatian embassy and Sylvia and other members of the community who helped set up the work.

I would also like to briefly mention that today Mr Hanson and I had the opportunity to attend the Battle of Britain commemoration at the War Memorial. Mr Stanhope was there and gave, I have to say, a very well received speech at the War Memorial. He spoke about the contribution that was made during the Battle of Britain, not just by the British but, indeed, by many Australians and by many people who later settled in Australia. It was quite a moving ceremony.

I would like to pay tribute once again to the War Memorial, to all of the veterans groups that put in so much work, indeed, to all those people who at one stage or another have put their hands up to defend our nation and to defend liberty. It is a debt that can never be repaid. Those of us who have not served can never understand the sacrifice that is made by those in war. Many thousands of Australians perished throughout the world wars and in other conflicts. Once again, I would like to pay tribute to our veteran community and to the War Memorial for hosting what was a very moving ceremony today.

Sri Lanka

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (4.36): On 9 September I attended a forum at Parliament House on human rights in Sri Lanka. It dealt with what is occurring with the treatment of Tamils held in camps and also the role of Australia, including governments and the community, in protecting human rights in Sri Lanka.

The event was attended by both federal and ACT parliamentarians. Speakers at the event included the President of the International Commission of Jurists, the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, a former Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and a paediatrician and associate professor who has conducted medical work and also aid work in Sri Lanka.

This forum discussed the situation of over 300,000 Tamils being held in camps in Sri Lanka and the calls which have been made by the United Nations and Amnesty International to allow these people to leave if they choose, for the camps not to be under Sri Lankan military guard and for aid agencies and the media to be allowed into the camps.

I have previously spoken about this situation in the Assembly. The forum reported recent actions by the Sri Lankan government to restrict anyone reporting on or


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