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Mr Connolly: There will be great coverage if you decide to reaffirm it. The French Government will say, “Look”.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Connolly! You will have your opportunity to speak.

MRS CARNELL: The decision by the French Government to resume testing at Mururoa Atoll is precisely that - a decision by the French Government. It is not a decision by the people of Versailles-Les Yvelines. Repudiating our sister city relationship is tantamount to saying that Canberrans themselves should be held responsible for every decision made by Paul Keating or the Australian Government. Heaven forbid! Actually, I have heard Ms Follett say on many occasions that she gets extremely cross when the media of Australia talk about “Canberra” making decisions on behalf of the people of Australia. It is certainly not Canberra; it is the Federal Parliament, as we all know. And it is certainly not the people of Versailles who have made this decision.

So, taking that into account and taking into account the basis of sister city agreements, which is to set up communications between communities - not governments - here in the ACT, here in Canberra, and in Versailles, I have written to the Mayor of Versailles and also to the President du Conseil General des Yvelines, telling them exactly what we believe and asking them to make representations on our behalf to their Government. We believe that this is an important step. It is saying very definitely to our sister city that we want them to act on our behalf and to express our heartfelt opinion to the French Government. That is the only way in which, I believe, the people of Canberra are going to make any dent at all on the French Government. I believe that they will not be watching Canberra television tonight if I ceremoniously rip up the agreement. Possibly I am wrong. Possibly Chirac will be watching ACT television tonight. But, basically, I do not think so.

I am very happy to table the letters, both in English and in French, to both of those people. In those letters I have made it clear that the ACT Government totally condemns the French decision. We also say that we support a consumer boycott of French products. We believe that it is essential to make our mark in such a way that the French Government will hear us - not by ripping up a document on ACT television, but in a way that can actually make a difference. We believe that a consumer boycott can make a difference. We believe strongly that it is only by this sort of approach that we have any chance whatsoever of making a difference.

Rather than this Assembly emotionally getting rid of a twinning agreement with Versailles that has been going on for 10 years, that has benefited our school children, our university students, our artists, our business people and our community generally, that is a relationship on a people-to-people basis, not on a government-to-government basis; rather than throwing that out for the pleasure of ACT television tonight, why do we not, as an Assembly, all sign a letter telling the French Government what we believe is the case, which is - I think we all agree - that this is not an acceptable position? Why do we not, as an Assembly, urge every Canberran to stop buying French products? Why do we not, as an Assembly, determine today to put out a list - - -

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