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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 4668..


Mindfulness is the photographic exhibition of the portraits of the 13 filmmakers behind Moving minds. Barbie Robinson created the portraits and Ed Whalen and Katie Ryan gave creative and technical support for photo access. The ultimate credit does obviously need to go to the 13 wonderful filmmakers. Their names are Matt, Annie, Greg, Jenni, Charmaine, Michael, Rosie, John, Lisa, Isabel, Laurie, Joe and Jacqui for having the courage to tell their very moving and honest stories of living with mental illness.

There is still much stigma associated with mental illness and projects such as this go a long way towards addressing the stigma and also showing people with mental illness and their families and friends that people can receive treatment and become well through their mental illness. People telling their own personal stories is often the most powerful way of dealing directly with misconceptions about mental health. Groups such as MIEACT are vital with the work they do in addressing this.

The other event I spoke at was the annual remembrance ceremony for people who have lost their lives to illicit drugs, which is organised every year by the Friends and Family for Drug Law Reform in the ACT. I would like to acknowledge Brian and Marion McConnell for their work in not only organising this event but for their tireless efforts in raising the issues associated with the impact of drugs on people and their families.

The ceremony is for people to come together to share their grief for loved ones that they have lost and also to celebrate their loved ones' lives. There is often much shame and stigma associated with drug addiction and with the loss of a life from drugs. Being able to publicly display and acknowledge the loss is an important part of letting people know how they feel and being able to share their grief with others who understand.

I would also like to acknowledge the other speakers at the ceremony. Jo Wade spoke very eloquently about her daughter who lost her life to drugs and provided her story of how this has impacted on their family and their friends. This was a very brave action to take and I think Jo should be applauded for having the courage to tell her story.

Reverend Rex Graham, a social justice consultant from the Uniting Church, read out the names of the many people of different ages and from all walks of life who have lost their lives to drugs. Reverend Graham also spoke about the supervised injecting room in Sydney run by the Uniting Church which, after 10 years of being on a so-called trial, has been given ongoing funding.

I would just like to read from the statement in the program for yesterday's ceremony which I think really sums up why this type of ceremony is so important for people.

Let us draw strength from their life and show our tenacity. We have been pressured to hold our loss to ourselves, even to invent a different life and cause of death. In short we have been pressured to deny one whom we love. Our gathering today is a rejection of that blame and shame. Gathering together today, in public in the midst of all this beauty is a statement—"a cry against the ports of space, Beating their sides to make its fury heard". We go forth from here into the light.


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