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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 14 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 5286..


Dangerous Substances (Explosives) Amendment Regulation 2009 (No 2)

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.04): I move:

That Subordinate Law SL2009-43, being the Dangerous Substances (Explosives) Amendment Regulation 2009 (No. 2), be disallowed.

Fireworks have been part of our way of life in Australia for generations. I can remember my own childhood wonder and amazement as my father set off catherine-wheels and skyrockets, lighting up the yard and the sky with a blaze of colour and sparkles, blending with those let off, almost simultaneously, by many others in the neighbourhood.

I can remember the community occasion that was cracker night. Family and friends would gather in the early day. A bonfire would be set up, the barbecue lit, the fireworks made ready for the fall of darkness and the subsequent display of colour. I can remember the kids in the street, and that tradition continued with my own family.

What pleasure I took as a parent to see the faces of my children in their awe and wonder and their squeals of delight as they had their own backyard cracker nights. How delightful it was to see their excitement and anticipation of the first skyrocket zooming into the night sky.

According to the results of the last telephone survey conducted by the government in August 2008, 56 per cent of Canberrans felt the same way. They too can remember the delights of those gatherings of family and friends. They too can remember the delight of children. They too can remember the once-a-year special occasion that cracker night was.

But it is clear that the Stanhope Labor government and the Greens do not remember those once-a-year special occasions. They do not remember or care about the delight of their children. They do not remember their own squeals of delight when they were kids themselves. They do not remember or care about the gatherings of family and friends, and they do not remember and care about what fun it was to have that once-a-year special occasion that was cracker night.

Instead, the Stanhope Labor government and the Greens have become fun police. It is especially poignant considering the Greens are standing in contravention of their stated policy at the last election. The Green-Labor alliance has said to the Canberra people that no more can there be squeals of delight of children in the family backyard. The Labor-Greens alliance has ignored the 56 per cent of Canberrans who agree that consumer fireworks should be able to be purchased and used in the ACT.

While at this stage I have painted a rosy picture of what cracker night is, it is true that there are differences in the community and it is true that there are problems. Indeed, the issue of fireworks has been a very difficult one for this community. It is important that we acknowledge the darker side of the fireworks debate.


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