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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1063 ..

Mr Stanhope: Speaking to the point of order: it is a very poor defence by the Chief Minister to say that just because Mr Wood can quite clearly demonstrate that the minister has misled on an associated and subsidiary matter does not mean that he misled in relation to the subject of the motion. I think it is quite relevant that Mr Wood can demonstrate clearly that Mr Smyth has a history of misleading. He does it all the time.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! It is not up to the Leader of the Opposition to make a determination; the chair will. I ask Mr Wood to address the amendment. I understand that you want an extension of time to do so, Mr Wood.

MR WOOD: Yes. I do not normally seek an extension of time but, because there have been so many interruptions, I ask for one now. (Extension of time granted.) The whole import of this media statement is that CTEC will be coming out. Let me go back to something that Mr Smyth said, Mr Humphries.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Wood, address your remarks through the chair.

MR WOOD: Through you, sir, I will refer to something that Mr Smyth said to satisfy Mr Humphries' one-sided view of things. Mr Smyth was talking about the growth of tourism and visitation. CTEC was all about that and the multicultural festival was all about that, was it not? Whether it drew great numbers of visitors in the end, I do not know. But if we are going to focus on visitation, let us look not just at the impact of the move to the airport, but also the impact of the decisions that have been made about the multicultural festival .

I would think it is going to be very difficult next year to mount a festival anything like the one this year, again because of misunderstandings about how everything works. The embassies have been enormously supportive of the multicultural festival . They have provided a very large and expensive part of what has happened. I do not know whether the government can be confident that the embassies will be so cooperative next year. Mr Mico, the person who has been making all those contacts and expanding them over the years, has gone. Someone, I do not know whom it will be, will have to try to start again. I am not sure that the embassies are going to be very receptive to that. They might think that they can just put in a few food stalls and it will be okay. So there are big problems for next year.

The move to the airport and Mr Dominic Mico's removal have left the multicultural festival precariously situated. They have damaged the multicultural festival and damaged the cause of multiculturalism in the ACT. This decision has been an arbitrary, unpleasant, unnecessary one. It has outraged the multicultural community, the arts community and the wider community. We have seen only a little bit of evidence of that in the paper. By virtue of this media release, the minister is starting to try to claw back the situation. This release is an exit for him. I do not know who has been leaning on him, but somebody has.

I think we will find the next media statement three or four months down the track saying that the multicultural festival will stand on its own. That will be so that there will not be so much mud left on Mr Smyth's face, so that he can make a withdrawal in two stages

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