Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2936 ..
MS FOLLETT (continuing):
Mr Speaker, it is also a fact that I have been aware throughout this year of various visits to Canberra by parliamentary representatives from Nara. There was, for instance, that visit by the deputy mayor and his party. There was another visit not some two weeks ago. I would like to put it on the record that not on any of those occasions have members of the Labor team been invited to participate in any function whatsoever or to have any meeting with those visitors. Mr Speaker, when it comes to bipartisanship, I would say the Liberals really have it all ahead of them. They have yet to prove that they even know what the word means.
Mr Speaker, I would also like to mention, just in passing, the question of the relative costs of various delegations. I would like to put it on the record that the cost to the Executive of the parliamentary delegation which I led was in fact $25,387.48. That cost includes the cost for me as Chief Minister, for Mr Lamont, and for Mr Wedgwood, my staffer. Mr Speaker, it is the fact that the amount did not include Mr Lamont's air fares. They were paid for by the conference that he attended in Japan. The total cost that the Government bore in 1993, Mr Speaker, was $114,319. That cost has been greatly exaggerated in the course of the Liberals' cheap, petty and crass point-scoring on this whole exercise.
MR MOORE (6.08): Mr Speaker, I think it is important that I rise and speak on this occasion. I have heard, not only on this occasion but also on quite a number of other occasions, what some would describe as bickering and point-scoring, and I think with good reason. I listened to what Ms Follett said in this adjournment debate and I think there is some merit in the points that she raised. I hope, Mr Speaker, that we can step beyond that; that when a delegation comes from Nara a member or members, whatever is appropriate, from the Opposition, a member or members from the crossbenches, and a member or members from the Government are included at such functions. I think that Ms Follett has appropriately put the challenge back into the hands of the Government and said, "Let us see a proper bipartisan approach", or, as I would say, a non-partisan approach, "on this issue". Then we can begin to look forward.
The Leader of the Opposition has given evidence today - I have heard it myself over the last few years - of situations which are simply inappropriate. What we need to do is to present to our sister city a unified front in terms of our hospitality and our approach, recognising, of course, that we have differences of opinion on some issues, as indeed they do themselves. At one dinner we sat down with a member of the Communist Party and members of several other parties from the Assembly in Nara. Of course, they had differences of opinion; nevertheless, the hospitality that was shown to us was entirely appropriate. In some ways it led to a much more interesting discussion. That is what we should do in return. I hope, Mr Speaker, that today we have reached a point from which we can move forward on this issue and work as we should on our sister city relationship.
Question resolved in the affirmative.