Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2208 ..
This was a really inspiring event to go to. We heard the stories of some of the scholarship recipients and what they had been through, some of them in their very young lives, with some as young as 17 coming out here on their own and having to support themselves and also study. We do not quite know what some people have been through and the hardships they have had to go through in their life. There were recipients representing a number of different countries, including Burma, Sudan, Afghanistan and a number of other countries.
There was a very interesting keynote address from Richard Towle, who is the UNHCR regional representative for Australia, New Zealand, PNG and the South Pacific. One of the very salient facts which he pointed out was that at the moment there are approximately 15 million refugees across the world who will not be able to return to their countries of origin. He said that that is about the highest level we have seen since 1990. It is always good to keep that in our minds when we are talking about refugee issues.
I had the great honour to speak to an ethnic Hazara man from Afghanistan. He told me his story. He had come out to Australia in 1999 by boat; he had had to flee the country because of what was happening there with the Taliban. His village had been teaching girls at school, and they had been threatening that if they did not stop this practice they would go into the village and kill people there. That did happen, so he had to leave. In 2002 he managed to bring his whole family out here. He was very proud of his three daughters, who were all going through university; his oldest was about to graduate. It was very inspiring to speak to him. He made the point that Afghanistan is still a very dangerous country and that there are a lot of people who will not be able to return there.
I would like to congratulate everyone who received the scholarships and to congratulate the Canberra Refugee Support group on the wonderful work that they do in supporting refugees in the community, particularly for this program, which, as it says, recognises the contributions that refugees make to our community. I wish them all the luck with this program in the future.
Mothers Day classic fun run
Diabetes singing bee
Red Shield Salvation Army doorknock appeal
Vietnam Veterans and Veterans Federation
MR HANSON (Molonglo) (5.52): I have had the privilege of attending a number of events since we last sat. Notably, one of them was the Mothers Day classic fun run. I noticed that a couple of other members from the Assembly also participated. I saw Katy Gallagher out there, and Amanda Bresnan. More notably, though, Zed Seselja was there; I did not actually see him, because he was behind me all the way. I was looking for him, but I was looking in the wrong place; I should have been looking behind me. Unfortunately, Zed came in a little bit behind me, but I am sure he will do better next time. I am sure that he will be inspired to after listening to this speech.
On 15 May, I participated in the diabetes singing bee, which was a great night, a fantastic night, that raised in the order of $120,000 for a very worthy cause. It was a