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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 December 2020) . . Page.. 25 ..


for voluntary service to the ACT, the ACT Legislative Assembly and Dutch-Australian friendship. He also received an Order of Australia medal in January 1997 for service to the community.

It is fitting to quote from Mr Westende’s inaugural speech that he gave in 1992. He said:

I feel very honoured and privileged to be standing here as a member of the ACT Legislative Assembly but, more importantly, I am very conscious of the responsibilities that this honour and privilege entails. It is a responsibility that is indeed entrusted to all members of this Assembly by those who have placed us here—the people of the ACT—and we must never lose sight of this.

Those words, spoken 28 years ago, echo here this week, as eight new members make their first speeches and commence their time here as MLAs. Mr Westende’s life is a reminder to all of us here today to remain focused on service to the community. On behalf of the ACT Greens, I offer my condolences to Mr Westende’s wife, Mandy, and to his broader family.

Question resolved in the affirmative, members standing in their places.

Petitions

Sport—Thoroughbred Park funding—petition 24-20

By Ms Clay, from 674 residents:

The Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly

The following residents of the ACT draw to the attention of the Assembly that the horse racing industry is out of step with community expectations in the ACT. Despite protestations about jobs and “loving their animals” the primary motivator is financial and personal success and glory for the trainers and owners – not the horses. Horses lead an unnatural and restricted life while racing, and at worst end up as “wastage” in an industry that has no more use for them. They are stabled most of the day, unable to graze and suffer horrific injuries, occasionally visible, such as the 7 horses that have died during the Melbourne Cup over the last 7 years, but mostly hidden from public view.

The extreme mental and physical suffering these sentient beings experience “for fun” is not acceptable to most Canberrans. The conditions they live and die under, all at the behest of an industry with questionable ethics and subject to allegations of links with organised crime, goes against community expectations. Canberrans do not want to prop up this cruelty any longer.

Your petitioners, therefore, request the Assembly to call upon the Government to withdraw all public funding (understood to be in the vicinity of $6 million annually) to Thoroughbred Park. This money should be redirected to support Canberra’s arts and entertainment industry, where animals are not exploited or abused.


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