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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (1 March) . . Page.. 522 ..

MR SPEAKER: On behalf of the Secretariat, Ms Tucker, I would like to thank you for your kind words, but I would also like to mention that that matter is under consideration.

Motion (by Mr Moore ) agreed to:

That so much of standing order 34 be suspended as would prevent the adjournment debate extending for a maximum period of 30 minutes.

Afghanistan-Buddhist statues

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (5.24): Mr Smyth was talking about preserving wildlife. One thing we have done in this country in recent years is preserve our heritage. It is a rich heritage, not only since European settlement but dating back 40,000 years or so with indigenous people.

I was saddened to see what some other countries do about heritage when I saw a report in the Australian of the Taliban, the fairly lunatic regime that is ruling Afghanistan at present, for very narrow-minded religious reasons destroying some 2,000-year-old Buddhist statues which are absolutely national treasures, indeed world treasures. It made me think how lucky we are to live in a place like Australia where we value our heritage, where we have tolerance and where we are not dictated to by such crazy notions as that bunch of lunatics seem to have.

Civilisations that destroy their own heritage will rue the day that that happened. I am reminded of the destruction done by the Red Guard in China during the cultural revolution and by the Chinese in Tibet, where all but seven or eight monasteries out of 6,000 were destroyed during communist occupation. I want to indicate how lucky I think we are to live in a place like Australia where we value both our natural heritage and our historical heritage.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Assembly adjourned at 5.26 pm until Tuesday, 6 March, at 10.30 am.

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