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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (3 August) . . Page.. 3378..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

message. It would be great if we could solve some of the cases and if we could bring peace to a number of people who suffer daily, who live through this daily.

The other interesting thing that the AFP did, Mr Speaker, was that they actually commissioned a song. It has been written by a Queensland author. That will be played over the week, I understand, on all the commercial stations and certainly the ABC. It highlights some of the anguish that is caused to those who are left behind and who do not know and who need to know. To those of us who have an interest in this, please encourage anyone you know who is estranged from their family simply to make contact.

Rugby union

MR STEFANIAK (5.54): Mr Speaker, I rise to comment in relation to a problem that has been around for some time now, and that is the fact that the ACT is not represented on the board of the Australian Rugby Union. My colleague Mr Smyth had this brought home to him on Friday actually by the CEO of the Brumbies and the ACT Rugby Union, and they in fact wrote a letter to the chairman of the Australian Rugby Union, which I have here and fully support, requesting the board of the ARU to give urgent consideration to the ACT being given representation on its board.

Since the inception of the Kookaburras in 1995 and certainly since 1996 with the Super 12s and the Brumbies being part and parcel of that, the ACT team, namely, the Brumbies, have performed better than any other Australian side; it has been in five finals in its short history and won two of them. No other Australian team has actually made the finals. The last time any other team won anything like that was Queensland winning the Super 10 back in 1995.

I think it is certainly a ridiculous situation that the ACT is not represented on the board of the Australian Rugby Union because there are three distinct areas of excellence in Australia in the sport of rugby union, and they are the ACT, New South Wales and Queensland. New South Wales and Queensland of course are represented on the board of the Australian Rugby Union. I am not too sure whether this is just a type of Canberra-bashing, which does happen outside this territory from time to time.

I have certainly noticed that, in relation to sporting matters, people seem to think that Canberra is just federal politicians. Well, the federal politicians actually come largely from interstate and reside here only when parliament is sitting. But the ACT is made up of ordinary, average Australian citizens who happen to live in the national capital.

We are now, of course, a self-governing territory and even have a mace now; yet there is this attitude, I think, that pervades a lot of areas of Australia, including sporting areas, that the ACT is somehow different. I think that works often to our detriment. I detect that perhaps there is something in that because of the fact that we do not have, and we should have, a representative on the board of the Australian Rugby Union.

We see it in other areas of sport too. I think there were some big problems in relation to the Comets being given the toss from the cricket competition. We have often been a bit short-changed in a number of areas, but here I think it is really quite stark. The ACT and especially the Brumbies have contributed hugely to the sport of rugby union.

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