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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 2 Hansard (19 March) . . Page.. 579..

Madam Speaker, your event was funded by the ACT branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and featured guests from the Assembly, high commissions and schools from across Canberra. Participating schools included St Francis Xavier, St Mary MacKillop, Merici College, Orana, Daramalan College, Brindabella Christian College and Canberra Girls Grammar School. At the event, Phyllida Behm from Canberra Girls Grammar School read the Queen's Commonwealth Day message. The message included the following remarks, beginning with a reference to the Commonwealth Games:

While national teams will be concentrating on the competition in August, Team Commonwealth will have a longer focus, working together to achieve a more enduring success.

Experiences of life differ widely throughout the Commonwealth, and we each make contributions from sometimes very different viewpoints. But we are committed to the same goals. Together we offer each other encouragement and draw strength from this mutual support.

Madam Speaker's remarks included a good description of the modern-day commonwealth:

The 53 countries of the Commonwealth have joined together over the past week to celebrate the spirit of teamwork that helps us work together.

It has been an opportunity to celebrate the strong bonds, shared values, and principles that unite us.

The independent countries belonging to the Commonwealth span six continents and oceans from Africa to Asia, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, and Australasia.

The Commonwealth represents 30 per cent of the world's population and straddles wide ethnic and cultural differences.

Commonwealth member countries include some of the world's largest and smallest, richest and poorest countries.

We acknowledge all faiths and ethnicities.

Over half of the Commonwealth's people are aged 25 or under.

The attendees at the celebration also heard His Excellency Mr Molosiwa Selepeng, High Commissioner for the Republic of Botswana, respond on behalf of the commonwealth nations represented in Australia through their missions in Canberra.

I believe the commonwealth is highly relevant to Australia and to the world. We in Canberra will be fortunate to host Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George next month at an event which I am sure will attract considerable media attention around the world and excite many Canberrans.

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