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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1960..


MS HUNTER (continuing):

schools in the ACT that benefit from the YWCA's program the walking school bus, which is a fantastic initiative that I believe is funded by the ACT government. I just alert people that tomorrow is national walk safely to school day and I hope that a lot of children are able to participate.

Ms Anna Landon

Tamil referendum

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (6.48): I too would like to thank Anna for the great contribution she has made since she has been here. As Shane said, she is a fantastic cook. She is also extremely fashionable and, as everyone has also said, has a wicked sense of humour. She loves pink. That is right. Her presence is going to be greatly missed.

I would like to briefly mention that on Sunday, 18 April, I attended, as an observer, the ACT booth for the Tamil referendum, where Tamils living in Australia were asked to vote on whether they aspire for the formation of an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of Sri Lanka. At least 10,000 Tamils turned out for this vote. Dr Sam Pari from the Australian Tamil Congress said that, whilst the result will have little political significance, it will serve as a tool to show the world that Tamils living overseas support the cause of Tamil independence.

The provisional results from Australia were that 99.4 per cent voted yes to the referendum. The referendum has been held successfully in other countries, including Norway, France, Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom. Again, in these countries more than 99 per cent voted yes and a further five countries will be conducting a referendum in the next few months. The UK government has formally recognised the result of the referendum for the UK; so it would be good to see the Australian government do the same thing for the Tamil people living in Australia.

The referendum this year is based on the Vadukkoddai resolution, which was a landmark decision made by Tamil political parties in 1976 to reclaim their traditional homeland and exercise their right to sovereignty. What they hope to achieve through the referendum this year, obviously by showing that there is the vast majority of support amongst Tamils living overseas or independents, is to reaffirm the political aspirations of the Tamils in the isle of Sri Lanka, that the opinion of Tamils living overseas can be used to determine the political solution to ethnic conflict, that the results be taken to governments and international bodies and that this bring about national and global solidarity amongst Tamils and bring consensus on the national question.

As I noted, I do hope that the Australian government follows in the footsteps of the UK government and officially recognises and supports the results of the referendum in Australia. I wish all the Tamil community success with further referendums that they run across the world.

Canberra Dragon Boat Association

MR COE (Ginninderra) (6.51): I rise today to speak about a particularly active, sometimes in the unearthly hours of the day, group in Canberra and that is the dragon


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