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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2083 ..

MR BERRY: But it seems a long way to go to get to the point where a magistrate has to decide that it was all a bit too much and the case ought to be dismissed. From the outside, you can have a belly laugh about it. Thinking about the things that were going on that evening, you could laugh at the agitation that would have occurred with the various people as they got involved in it and the inability of people to back away from their various positions.

The matter has been reported in the Canberra Times. The person involved was most upset about it and has been for some time. I raise it here for a bit of light relief, on the one hand, but also as something that people might take into consideration if ever they are talking to others about these matters. There just seems to be a need to find a little safety valve somewhere to stop things running off to the courts, costing us all a fortune and wasting a whole heap of time for everybody.

Reserve Forces Day

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (6.17): Mr Speaker, briefly, I want to talk about a significant function that was held in Canberra for the first time today. Mr Stanhope and I went to it. I refer to Reserve Forces Day. It occurred first in Sydney last year. It is going to be an annual event. It commemorates the very significant role that the militia and the reserve have played in Australian history. Lots of people may not realise that the initial Australian forces raised after the British units were slowly withdrawn from Australia in the mid-nineteenth century were, in fact, all volunteers. All participated on a part-time basis. They formed the nucleus of the forces that went to the Sudan and the Boer War. Of course, when compulsory part-time conscription was introduced just before World War I, we had a very small standing army of about 1,000 and it enabled us to put about 350,000 troops into the field in World War I. The first Australian killed in World War I was, in fact, a naval reservist - during the landings in New Guinea in September 1914. Of course, they were all basically militia forces and volunteers that fought in World War I.

In World War II the tradition continued. The regular army was about 3,000 in strength at the start of the war and there were some 80,000 militia. Indeed, it was not until we got to the Korean War that the regular services took over from the reserve. The reserve still forms a very important part of the Australian Defence Force and it was great to see the very dignified commemoration that was held at the Australian War Memorial today. Sir William Deane, the Governor-General, was there. I was delighted to represent the Territory, along with Mr Stanhope. It was great catching up on a personal note with a lot of old mates from 3RNSWR and various other reserve units I had served with. I was delighted to see the day a success. I am sure that it will continue to be an annual feature of Canberra. The first one was certainly a success and I think it is timely to note the most significant contribution the reserve and its predecessors have made, not only to Australian military history, but also to the country as a whole.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Assembly adjourned at 6.19 pm

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