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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (21 September) . . Page.. 3075..


MS PORTER (continuing):

observed on Saturday was an outstanding example of how members of our community are working together to build a strong and healthy society.

Having said that, let me say that governments do have a very important role to play in providing appropriate facilities for our sporting teams, and I look forward to working with Minister Hargreaves and his department to continue to improve these facilities, particularly in the rapidly growing area of Gungahlin.

Finally, I commend Chris Grainger, the President of Gungahlin United, and Graeme Rodda, the President of Belsouth, and their executives and other committee members on the great leadership roles that they are playing in their respective clubs. I also congratulate the many volunteers who give their time to coach and train the young people, as well as those who play an active role on the day of the games and take an active role in other administrative roles with the clubs. I am sure the players themselves greatly appreciate the help of these volunteers.

Ms Joanna Woodbury

Ramadan

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (4.55): Tonight I wish to farewell Joanna Woodbury, who will be leaving my employ Friday week. She has been in this place for about five years now and is going on to much bigger and better things.

I want to talk tonight about the success of the opposition-run Ramadan celebration last night. This event was a repeat of what we initiated last year. It was an opportunity to celebrate the coming of Ramadan, which will commence on either Saturday or Sunday, depending on which imam on the east coast first identifies the appropriate moon. There will be a struggle among them to see whose decision prevails.

I would like to thank the Afghan ambassador, the Turkish ambassador, the Indonesian ambassador, the charges d'affaires of Egypt, Pakistan and Malaysia who attended, and other senior embassy officials from a number of other Arab and Asian countries. I would like to thank Dr Foskey and Ms Porter for coming along. We did promulgate the affair last night as very much a bipartisan affair. In fact, we invited the minister for multicultural affairs to speak at the function.

Representatives from the Canberra Islamic Centre and the Canberra Mosque were present. Bishop George Browning was present, with Mr Bill Arnold of the ACT Jewish community and Mr Joe Bailey of the Anglo-Indian community. The purpose of the evening was to show a harmonious, across the faith and across the cultural divide standing with ACT Muslims in the celebration of Ramadan.

Seventy people attended the function, twice as many as attended last year. It is therefore somewhat sad that Mr Hargreaves should get up here today and launch a political attack on last night's activities. We went out of our way to invite him to speak. We actually talked Mr Hargreaves up to demonstrate to the broader community that the Assembly as a whole was very happy to celebrate and run this particular activity last night.

It is supreme hypocrisy for Mr Hargreaves to make a cheap attack based on a misleading newspaper story. Based on my deeds and my words over the last five years about both

multicultural and Muslim affairs, he must know that the story is not representative at all


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