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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1426 ..

Journey of Healing

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (6.32): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I too rise to speak about the Journey of Healing. I have to start by saying that I am disappointed that the motion that Mr Stanhope had on the notice paper was not put and we did not get a chance to do things properly, instead of having hurried speeches in the adjournment debate. It is a shame that on private members day it was actually relegated to the adjournment debate. I think that is very sad.

It is very sad because of the three things Mr Stanhope just spoke about - recognition, commitment and unity. This is an important issue and it should not be relegated to the adjournment debate. It is a shame that we sought to do other things quickly, at the expense of this motion. I, like Mr Stanhope, had a substantial speech prepared for this debate and I will try to pull some of the elements together.

The Journey of Healing grows out of National Sorry Day, and 26 May this year is the first anniversary of that. All members, I am sure, have received the Walking Together magazine, a recent publication of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. But, for the sake of the record, it is worth reading two short stories out of it. The first one is headed, "Tuggeranong publishes words of reconciliation", and reads:

Young people of the Tuggeranong Valley in the ACT have produced poems, short stories and other creations calling for reconciliation in a book called Words of Reconciliation published in December. The book idea was initiated by Lorne Parker-Doyle a Canberra poet, arts worker and counsellor, and Daniel Williams, an Aboriginal arts administrator and performer.

It is great that young people in Tuggeranong, for instance, are making a statement about how they feel on reconciliation. The other article is about Bruce Martin, the only Aboriginal student at Canberra Boys Grammar School, and he writes:

My name is Bruce Martin and I'm almost 16 and in Year 10 at an all-boys' Grammar school in Canberra. I was born in Cairns and lived with my Mum in a small Aboriginal community called Aurukun on the western side of Cape York. I lived there for the first five years of my life, and grew up speaking the language of the Wik people there, Wik Mungkan. I can still speak it.

Since then, I have gone to nine different schools around Australia.

My dad is an anthropologist ...

He goes on to say:

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