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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1446 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

We have an international airport which provides us with the opportunity to bring people here on charter flights. That, of course, then flows through into all of the economy. The tourist sector would benefit. The AIS has rightly pointed out that they would benefit. All of the other tourism venues-the hotels, the bars, the cafes, the restaurants, the pubs-would benefit from having world cup games played here. But the benefit would be greater if a Wallaby game was played here. That would help bring the city together to celebrate, to back rugby and to barrack for our heroes.

So if members are off to the Irish Embassy tonight, make sure that you have a chat with Richard O'Brien. Whisper in his ear or the ear of anybody else that you can get hold of and say, "Wouldn't Canberra be a nice place for the Irish team to station themselves?" I wish Ms MacDonald well in her collection of signatures because it is important that we host these games.

Representatives of the ARU to whom I have spoken said that the atmosphere at Bruce in some of the final games that we have been involved in recently was just electric. The feeling, the noise, the reverberation across the stadium when the chant went up for the Brumbies, are to be marvelled at. All of this is a true expression of the spirit of this city. People who say that we have no heart, that we have no soul, should go to a Brumbies game, because we do and we will express it even more so should we get an Australian game.

MRS DUNNE (4.32): I rise to support this matter of public importance because rugby and sport are important to the spirit of Canberra. One day when I was sitting at the top of bay 11 in the Meninga Stand looking down at Brumbies match, I remarked to the person sitting beside me, "Look how many people are wearing Brumbies caps." The person said, "You might talk about social capital but that's social capital at work." Every time you go to a match at Canberra Stadium-whether it is a rugby match or a rugby league match-you feel the spirit of the Canberra people in supporting their team. That is social capital at work.

Ms MacDonald's initiative to ensure that Canberra hosts world cup games is important. I have signed the petition and I have made sure that members of my family have also done so. The initiative is very important in building spirit in Canberra. It is a spirit that will have many benefits and spin-offs. We, as a community, should be supportive all the way along the line of whatever is reasonable. We should not be doing things that get in the way of having a very successful world cup in Canberra.

I echo the sentiments of Mr Smyth when he talks about the strength of the juniors and the pride and the enthusiasm that comes up through the junior rugby ranks and the junior rugby league ranks. The Brumbies, the Vikings and the Kookaburras have been given great support in this town, and that support should be encouraged. Good luck to the Brumbies on Friday night, and we hope that soon you will have Joe Roff back in your ranks.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The discussion has concluded.

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