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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1674..


MR PRATT (continuing):

and during the smoke and dust and flurry of activity I tried but failed to have debate on the papers adjourned. I would just simply like to alert the house that at the next sitting in June I will seek leave to make a statement in reference to those five papers.

Secondly, on behalf of the opposition I wish to speak in support of and congratulate those people who were recently involved in the commemoration of ANZAC Day. This is the first sitting week since that commemoration-and I think we failed to get up and talk about it during the preceding sitting week.

I would like to take a minute or two, certainly on behalf of the opposition and I am sure on behalf of other members in this place, to state for the record our pride and to congratulate the national RSL and all of the local ACT RSLs for organising excellent and moving ceremonies around the ACT on ANZAC Day from dawn through till God knows when.

The main ceremony at 10.30 was a very poignant affair. It was made more poignant by the fact that young Australian men and women were at that time at war and in action-and, of course, they still are-in Iraq. Others, too, are on active service and UN service around the world, doing their best to project this country's involvement in trying to contribute to breaking old barriers and bringing peace. Against the backdrop of that, ANZAC Day was particular poignant.

The opposition is very proud of those men and women who are serving overseas. We are very proud of their families who have to stay at home and suffer and worry about how their people are faring. Of course, the opposition is also very proud of all of our veterans who are still able to march, and their families.

The last point that I would make is that it is pleasing to see that ANZAC continues to grow. It is very pleasing to see that our youth seek to turn out and support ANZAC. Those sceptics in the community who perhaps could be a little bit more positive about their country and their country's history should take note of that.

I will end on that point. Again, the opposition is very pleased with the way ANZAC went, and we hope it continues to be the successful tradition that it always has been.

Defence personnel in Iraq

MR STEFANIAK (5.11): Mr Deputy Speaker, in a somewhat similar vein, might I take this opportunity to express on my behalf, and I am sure the opposition's behalf and, I would imagine, maybe one or two other members-I would hope all members of this house, regardless of our views on the recent war in Iraq-our relief at the lack of fatalities, touch wood, so far among the 2,000 servicemen and women who are serving in that theatre. I think that is especially poignant because many of those people are Canberra-based residents. No-one likes any war, but it is particularly pleasing to note that, firstly, we seem to date to be fatality free; and, secondly, I think it is worth putting on the record the superb performances of our servicemen and women ranging from naval divers of the senior service clearing the port city of Umm Qasr-Mr Pratt probably can pronounces that better than I can-through to very effective support of navy commandos.


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