Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1040 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Young people are involved in a wide range of activities in the territory. Every generation says that young people are too noisy; they are too loud; they cause problems. Indeed, some young people do. Some older people do as well. But young people also contribute greatly to charities. They assist others less fortunate in our community. We have been particularly blessed in the ACT with many fine young sports men and women. Recently in the Assembly we celebrated the achievements of our women's soccer team and the Canberra Capitals basketball team. Many splendid fine young Canberrans are involved in those two sides, which this year for the first time ever won national competitions. In fact, it is the first time two Canberra teams have ever won national competitions in the same year.

There are splendid young athletes, female and male, throughout Canberra-international stars like Steve Larkham and Joe Roff in rugby union. Up and coming star Mark McLinden also served with great distinction on the Youth Advisory Council. He is now going on to bigger and better things as one of the more prominent players in the Canberra Raiders. He is a splendid young man I had the honour of having on my committee. I was most impressed with his input there, putting something back in another area.

Australia is the oldest country in the world in many respects. It has been populated for 40,000 years or so and settled by Europeans for the last 200 years. Yet as a participant on the world stage we are a young country.

The splendid efforts by Australians in time of war need to be recognised. Young Australians forged a legend at Gallipoli. On the Kokoda Track many 18-year-olds thrown into battle in the defence of Australia stopped the Imperial Japanese Army in its tracks. Young Australians served with distinction in Vietnam. Having visited that country as a tourist recently, I know that Australians were held in very high regard by our former allies in South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese also had great regard for our fairness and great respect for our troops who were over there, even though they were once enemies.

Many 19-year-olds served in Timor. A young Australian corporal in charge of a patrol which shot dead one Indonesian managed not only to extradite his patrol from a difficult situation but to calm an out-of-hand situation that probably should not have occurred. The patrol clashed with a regular army patrol led by a young second lieutenant in the Indonesian army. The young corporal-who was about 23 or 24 and well educated, as many of our young people are-spoke some Indonesian and was able to converse with the commander of the Indonesian army platoon, and they started negotiating. It was a border incursion. The Indonesians were about half a mile on the wrong side of their border. It was sorted out and the Indonesians withdrew. Tragically, one person had been killed, but it was cool thinking in a difficult situation by a most competent young Australian.

I will comment on a couple of things other speakers said. I do not think William Shakespeare was Greek, but it was lovely that Mrs Cross mentioned that Cleopatra was. That is something I did not know. You learn something every day.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .