Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2891 ..
MRS CARNELL (continuing):
spent indeed. Mr Speaker, I commend the mission report of the 1995 ACT business delegation to Japan to the Assembly. I thank Mr Moore for his participation in this delegation. I think it is very appropriate to have cross-party delegations. I did ask Ms Follett to join me on this delegation, and I was disappointed that she could not. I think it is important to make sure that delegates on these trips represent more than just the government of the day.
MR MOORE (3.29): Mr Speaker, I rise to speak on this statement because I was fortunate enough to take part in the delegation. The delegation represented a very wide range of interests in the community. This Assembly was represented by the Government and the crossbenches. There were also people from the bureaucracy, the Law Society, the Chamber of Commerce, a number of business people and a number of academics. It was a delegation that I felt very proud to be on, and I must say that I believe that all members of the delegation acquitted themselves particularly well throughout the visit.
Mr Speaker, the Chief Minister touched on the point that she had invited Rosemary Follett to be part of the delegation. In fact, I brought back a message from the mayor of Nara saying to Ms Follett that he would like to have had the opportunity, and would still like to have the opportunity, to grant her the honorary citizenship that he granted to the current Chief Minister. Indeed, it was Rosemary Follett who led the first delegation to Nara after self-government, and I believe appropriately so. I was positive about the situation then and I am positive about it this time. I am quite comfortable standing here and saying that I have not been one of the people who have been critical of the situation.
Ms Follett: Like them. They are hypocrites.
MR MOORE: Ms Follett points to the Liberals and says, "Like them". I thought it was churlish of them to be critical, and I still believe that that was the case. I know that they have said, "We were not arguing about whether or not you should go. We were arguing about the amount of money you should spend on it". Mr Speaker, I do not buy that argument. By and large, rather than buying into that, I believe that delegations should be prepared in the most effective way possible and should be able to try to seek the sorts of goals that the Chief Minister has elaborated this afternoon and that the mission report presents to the Assembly.
I would like to give one example of why I think that a non-partisan approach is particularly important. Standing very clearly in my mind is a meeting at which one of the leaders of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce, in asking about the delegation, raised the issue that the Chief Minister was the leader of a minority government. At a number of places we visited in Japan people were aware that it was a minority government. I presume that was the case when Rosemary Follett also led her delegation. When issues were raised about the attitude of the Assembly as a whole to the issues the Chief Minister was raising, I was in a position to say that I believed from my perspective that there would be a positive response to the sister city relationship. I certainly referred to the fact that Rosemary Follett had been there on a previous delegation. I think this helped present a unified view of what they could expect of Canberra.