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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1443 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Finally: well done, Ms MacDonald. Good luck with your petition. I hope you can get to a five figure number-that would be absolutely wonderful. My congratulations to you for placing this particular matter of public importance on the notice paper today.

MRS CROSS (4.21): I echo the eloquent sentiments expressed by my colleague, Mr Stefaniak-

MR SPEAKER: You are not going to try to repeat the reminiscences, are you?

Mr Stefaniak: She actually played when the Assembly beat the Canberra media last year.

MRS CROSS: I was the only female candidate that had the courage to play for the Assembly, and we won.

MR SPEAKER: Tell us about it, please!

MRS CROSS: It is riveting. I would like to congratulate Ms MacDonald.

MR SPEAKER: Can you tell the difference between the fronts and the backs?

MRS CROSS: Can I just say I nearly scored a try in that game. I did quite well for a newcomer. Ms MacDonald, I congratulate you on proposing this matter of public importance. I think that your petition in particular is a wonderful initiative. We will be lining up outside your office to make sure you have got all our signatures. My apologies for not having done so, but I have been away.

Mr Speaker, the most important aspect of this debate is that Canberra would be able, with just a few minutes notice, to host a world cup match that included the Wallabies. Canberra Stadium is a world-class stadium in every way, thanks to the former Liberal government. The corporate facilities, spectator viewing areas, concession stands and dining rooms are all first class. Player facilities are also second to none. The sometimes joked about playing surface is, in all reality, among the very best in the world. Players and officials the world over confirm that fact.

So we could hold a Wallaby match in the rugby world cup if required. We have hosted the Wallabies before and could easily do so again. It would be a pleasure to have them here again. Fortunately, we are going to host some of the rugby world cup matches and I hope, for Canberra's sake, we get some of the better matches. Once again, I commend and congratulate Ms MacDonald on her MPI and this initiative.

MR SMYTH (4.23): Mr Speaker, this is definitely a matter of public importance because it is about rugby. I think what we have seen happen in the ACT over the last 25-odd years in the development of rugby is quite astounding. I can remember that in 1978, I think it was, Wales came to the ACT and the ACT caused Wales to have its blackest day ever because we beat them. I think a capacity crowd of 10,000, 12,000 or maybe 15,000 people was crammed into Manuka Oval.

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