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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 April 2018) . . Page.. 1221 ..


It is important in this context to note that we are celebrating scientific heritage. If I were talking about this 10 years ago, I do not think I would be saying what I am going to say. Today it seems that science and evidence-based public policy in daily life have become less important than they once were. You have only to see the rise of Donald Trump in America, which is probably the number one example of this—talking about “alternative facts” and “fake news”. But it is not just in America. I do not want to single out anyone in particular, but there are still a large number of people who seem to think that if you believe that climate change is not happening, somehow it is not happening. The science on this is very clear. Climate change is happening, and it is very clear that we need to look at science in terms of public policy.

I note that my colleague Shane Rattenbury and activists from the ACT Greens will be attending the march for science on Saturday at 11 am at Regatta Point. Hopefully, there will be people from other political parties there. I know that all MLAs were invited. I have another public event at the same time, unfortunately, that I will be attending. It would be really great if this Assembly showed its contemporary support for science and evidence-based public policy by attending that march and looking at what the science is saying about climate change and so many other things. I refer to the extinction of species, for instance. I could go on at length, but I will not.

I was contemplating speaking at some length about the historical value of the Tidbinbilla and Honeysuckle sites, but given the commentary that has already been made, it would be purely repetitious, so I will not do so. I can remember going out to Tidbinbilla as a young girl. I always think of Tidbinbilla as the tracking station, and the idea that it is the nature reserve seems a bit Johnny-come-lately for Tidbinbilla.

I have also done quite a few walks around the Orroral tracking station, and that is a great place to walk around. It is also somewhere that is far enough from Canberra so that we can still see something of the magic of the night sky that used to be seen in Canberra when I was young.

Another historical site, Mount Stromlo, was located where it was partly because it was close enough to the ANU and to science but far enough away from Canberra so that there would not be light pollution and Mount Stromlo could work. Unfortunately, there is now light pollution at Mount Stromlo. But if you go further out, to Tidbinbilla, Honeysuckle Creek and the Orroral Valley, there is not nearly as much light pollution. In particular, if you go out on Earth Day, when many lights in Canberra do go out, it is a wonderful space to see our heavens above us—which is what, after all, we were exploring with Apollo 11.

I hope that over the next year we hear more about Canberra’s role in this important scientific advance and that we all celebrate the fact that Canberra has been part of leading-edge science in Australia. I look forward to hearing a lot more about the commemoration program next year and attending events for it next year.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for


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