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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1318 ..


MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to present a petition which does not conform with standing orders.

Leave granted.

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I present an out-of-order petition, being sketches from 103 residents protesting against the cuts to arts funding. Maybe this could find its way to the Performing Arts Advisory Committee in due course.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Wood.


MS TUCKER: I move:

That the Assembly expresses its deep regret at the death of Mr Craigie, who made a significant contribution to Aboriginal rights and issues in the Territory and tenders its profound sympathy to his widow, children and grandchild in their bereavement.

Mr Speaker, Billy Craigie was a leading Aboriginal activist and gave all of his life to the promotion of Aboriginal issues and land rights. He was a Gomilaroy warrior. His country was near Moree, where he was taken to be buried two weeks ago. He was buried in a full Aboriginal ceremony. Ceremony was something he was responsible for bringing back to Aboriginal people to reignite their culture and pride. He was a founding father of the Aboriginal Legal Service, of which he was vice-chairman for over 20 years. The Legal Service helped set up the Aboriginal tent embassy on the lawns of the Old Parliament House in 1972. Throughout his life he promoted the rights of indigenous peoples, both in Australia and overseas. He represented Aboriginals at international forums, such as the United Nations Conference on Indigenous Peoples in Geneva. He never lost sight, however, of the needs of individuals across Australia.

Matilda House described him as someone who made a difference in the lives of Aboriginal people on a daily basis. He was integral in setting up a friends network for Aboriginal people in custody, and maintained the community link with prisoners. He also helped develop the Aboriginal medical and health services. He was also concerned about issues surrounding Aboriginal education and through the Legal Service developed the legal indigenous training program that trains Aboriginal people on Australian and Aboriginal laws.

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