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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . .

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The opportunities presented by membership of the commonwealth are significant. There is no other group made up of such a rich diversity—large, small, hot, cold, wealthy and developing. We are all better for being part of the commonwealth. The delegates all represented democracies but with different systems and in different stages of development. We all represented electorates with huge diversity, from Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean, with 30,000 residents, to the electorate of Darbhanga, Biha, in India, with four million residents.

I was reminded of the challenges we all face but the enormous privilege we have to represent this territory and our country. I learnt a lot and will reflect more on these lessons in the report I will provide to my fellow CPA ACT branch members.

I thank all the delegates for their generosity in sharing their experiences. It enriched us all. I also thank you, Madam Speaker, for your support in attending the seminar, and I acknowledge the support of the Clerk, Mr Tom Duncan, and Ms Michelle Atkins in his office for organising the arrangements for my trip.

Sport—dragon boating

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Justice, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Transport Reform) (6.22): I rise tonight to speak briefly about dragon boating and the recent success of some ACT crews at the national competition. Dragon boating is an immensely popular sport here in the ACT and worldwide. It is in fact the fastest growing water sport in the world, involving 50 million paddlers in competitions around the world every year.

Dragon boating has a rich history, with traditional dragon boating taking place in southern China for over 2,000 years. The ACT, as members would know, has a very active dragon boating community. I have certainly had the good fortune to go out paddling on the lake with Dragons Abreast, who are a very well known and high-profile club. But what I would like to focus on tonight is that the ACT was represented in the national state versus state competition in April at the Australian championships by paddlers from the various clubs in the territory.

The team is known as ACT Fire and it competes in various categories: youth; under 24; premier, which apparently is anyone good enough; senior A, which is 40-plus years, senior B, which is 50-plus years; and senior C, which is 60-plus years. Teams race in open team category, which is generally made up of men but it can include women; a women's category; and a mixed category, which can include a maximum of 50 per cent males.

I would particularly like tonight to pay my respects to the ACT senior C mixed team who competed in the small boat category, with 10 paddlers, over 200 and 500 metres. The team finished fourth in the 200 metres race but came through to become first in the 500 metre race, beating South Australia by only 0.3 of a second, with Western Australia coming in third. This is a great victory.


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