Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 November 2018) . . Page.. 5012 ..
I have had many members of the community contact me both before I came into this place and since I started this discussion a month ago. We have to think about how we, as representatives of our community, can help to assist everyone in our community. Ms Orr spoke about William Slim and the effects on some of the children who were in The Long Journey Home and many other publications over time and have struggled with what happened to them as children.
We have had a royal commission into institutional child sex offences. Some of those children are now coming to an age where they have to look at possibly re-entering an institution, namely an aged care institution. They look at those institutions, and they often have the same names and are run by the same organisations as those who may have been involved in their abuse as children. Not only did they once have to suffer the awful indignity and the awful pain of living through that hell but also now, again, they might have to be faced with entering an institution of the same name.
We as elected representatives need to ensure that we are looking after our community and that we are respectful and help in any way we can. If that means reviewing some of Canberra’s place names so that they better reflect today’s community standards, to help people who are suffering, then that is what we are here to do. That is what we have been elected to do.
Mr Gentleman mentioned that it has been some time since the guidelines for the Place Names Committee have been reviewed. As in all things, time changes the way we think. We need to review those guidelines and the way in which we do things. What was acceptable 20, 30, 40 or 60 years ago may not be acceptable today. That is okay, but we as elected representatives need to make sure that we are thinking about those things when we make our laws, when we bring motions into this place and when we stand up and say that we represent our communities.
I listened to what Ms Le Couteur was saying about the thought of renaming or naming some of our places after women: strong, wonderful, insightful women. We are a majority female parliament and we are all proud to be sitting in here in Australia’s first majority female parliament, as well we should be. I agree that we should be looking at ways in which we can celebrate women, women’s achievements, women’s work and everything women have done. This week Bonita Mabo died. She was a great advocate for her causes. She started a school in 1973 in Townsville so that she could help educate Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and South Sea islander children so that they could grow up and have the same opportunities as everyone else. That should be celebrated. Hers would be a name that we look to name something after.
I believe that this motion is good. I would not have moved it if I did not. I was not forced to change anything. We have a democratic caucus where we all get to have our say. We all get to tell each other what we think of everything we debate in this chamber, and that is exactly how I hope to continue.
Mr Parton may have made a very good suggestion about the possibility of a union representative sitting on the Place Names Committee, but it is not up to me to make that decision; that is up to the Place Names Committee, the review of the guidelines