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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 1080..


MR STEFANIAK

(continuing):

In the health debate, I briefly mentioned an excellent fundraiser which I note has not received any publicity in the press. The local AMA and supporting staff organised a function at Belluci's, at Woden, for the bushfire appeal. It is an excellent restaurant, Mr Speaker. I recommend it to anyone. They obviously contributed greatly to the night.

There was not a huge crowd. I was told there were something like 130 people present. That would accord with what I saw there. They raised over $40,000, which is a fantastic effort. A couple of people came up from the New South Wales AMA. They donated a return trip to Dublin. Dr John Donovan then made sure that the winner could take a partner. I thank him for that. As people have until tomorrow to bid in the silent auction for that, the total will be considerably more than $40,000.

It was not a huge crowd, compared with the number when you and I were at the Hellenic Club the other night, Mr Speaker-or indeed when Gordon Scott organised a raffle for Easts at the Albert Hall, at which Ms MacDonald and a few other members were present. It was an excellent effort, nevertheless, and I commend them for it.

Finally, I reiterate to Mr Hargreaves that he is missing the point. The Leader of the Opposition is a very fair man. He has consistently supported the rights of all persons not to be discriminated against. He has consistently supported gay and lesbian issues, in relation to the rights of those people to not be discriminated against. He has tried to tie that up in the context of the debate we have just had.

He is simply crazy, I thought it was fairly obvious why the opposition did what it did. Mr Hargreaves totally misses the point. I think that is a very unfortunate slander he has made against the Leader of the Opposition here today.

Bushfire appeal

MS MacDONALD (6.06): I have just been reminded of the event last Thursday night run by Clubs ACT. It was an excellent event. There was a significant amount of money raised for the bushfire recovery appeal. I know there are other events going on around town. I applaud the spirit of all the people who have got together to raise funds for the recovery effort.

I hope it is not just the same few people being called upon, and that it will be extended right across the Australian community-not just the people of Canberra. The fact that the bushfires happened has placed strain on a number of other charities. There are a number of other places which consistently have monetary needs which are now under additional strain because of the bushfire recovery effort. However, I am sure we will all muddle through.

I wanted to rise principally to welcome the legislation which has just gone through-the Legislation (Gay, Lesbian and Transgender) Amendment Bill. I wholeheartedly welcome this bill. I did not rise during the debate because there were plenty of other people to rise and discuss the issues being put forward. I have received a number of emails-both from people opposed to the issue and those in favour of it.

I have a number of friends who fit into the categories described. I know that, at times,


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