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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 1 Hansard (9 February) . .

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Legislative Assembly—church service

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (4.58): Yesterday morning I and my Canberra Liberal colleagues and many of our staff had the pleasure of attending a service of prayer and worship to mark the opening of the ACT Legislative Assembly year. This year the service was held at St John's Church at Reid, an important church in the history of Canberra as the church pre-dates the establishment of Canberra, as the Rector of St John's, the Reverend Paul Black, was very proud to tell us.

The now annual ecumenical service was arranged by the Canberra clergy, and I believe an invitation to attend was extended to everyone who works in this building. I thank Reverend Paul Black for welcoming us to his church; the Right Reverend Stuart Robinson, the Anglican Bishop for the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, for his sermon; the Reverend David Campbell from St Andrews Presbyterian Church for his words and prayers; and Margaret Rodgers for her involvement and for her reading.

Morning tea was graciously provided by St John's Care, and I thank them for doing so. For those who are not familiar with the work of St John's Care, as their literature tells us, they aim to bridge the gap and break the cycle of disadvantage, isolation and economic hardship with compassion, advocacy, respect and encouragement through the provision of emergency relief and other programs. It is a parish-based Anglican organisation working in partnership with Anglicare, funded primarily through donations from community and church groups, businesses and individuals and, they advise, is proudly staffed by both volunteers and professionals.

It was a pleasant way to start the new parliamentary year, and I place on record my appreciation and thanks to those who were instrumental in arranging this service.

Irish language

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.00): I begin with an apology to speakers of the Irish language in Australia as I am about to butcher much of their pronunciation, but I will endeavour to do what I can in the spirit of multiculturalism in the ACT. Scoil Teanga 2016 was held from 23 to 26 January at the Bush Capital Lodge in O'Connor. It was a very successful celebration of Irish language and culture and was held over the Australia Day long weekend in Canberra. Gaelige, or Gaelic, was the Irish language spoken at the Scoil Teanga inaugural Irish language summer school. The official opening of the summer school was hosted by Ambassador Noel White of the Embassy of Ireland on Saturday evening, the 23rd. The 64 attendees were invited to bring their partners, and special guests were also invited.

A local band played Irish tunes during the evening. The school participants came from Ireland, Western Australia and South Australia as well as Victoria and New South Wales. A good representation of Irish residents also attended this event. Funding for advertising and promotion was granted by the Irish Embassy.

Classes offered over the weekend were at five levels, from the beginning student level to advanced conversationalist. Teachers of a high standard came from both Melbourne and Sydney language schools as well as from our own local Irish linguist, appropriately named Barney Devlin.


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