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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 2337 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Minister, I am glad that you have said to the Assembly that you will maintain Downer Preschool in accordance with this motion. I welcome your contribution to the Assembly debate in that respect. I hope that this gives the Government some guidance in the future as to how it should behave in respect of those extremely important parts of our education system which are filled by the preschool system. That is not to forget the primary school, high school and college systems. If this is the way you approach preschools, we have something to worry about in relation to the rest of the education system as well. I hope this serves as a lesson, Minister.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


MR BERRY (11.52): Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) condemns the atrocities committed against the Chilean people by the Pinochet Regime;

(2) recognises that many of the ACT Chilean community suffered under the Pinochet Regime and that their pain and suffering continues;

(3) calls on all governments to actively pursue every legal opportunity to bring the perpetrators, including General Augusto Pinochet, to justice;

(4) calls on the Chief Minister to write to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs urging them to follow the same course as this Assembly.

Firstly, Mr Speaker, I would like to welcome members of the Chilean community, their supporters and those who have been active on this issue for many years. I will try to begin at the beginning. We will all recall the military coup in Chile in 1973 when Allende, the popularly elected president, was ousted by the Pinochet military regime. Pinochet, during the course of that coup, ordered Allende to leave the country. Allende, as the popularly elected president, refused to do so, as you would expect. The president's residence or the centre of government was then bombed by the air force and Allende was killed, and Pinochet came to power.

From that time forward, until 1989, we had a constant flood on the news, in the print media and in the electronic media, about the atrocities and the cruelty of the Pinochet regime. Naturally, the Chilean people who were committed to democracy rose in protest about the behaviour of the military regime, and the military, as they are prone to do, attacked them. It is said that something of the order of 30,000 people disappeared under the cruel Pinochet regime; 30,000 people died as a result of this cruel regime.

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