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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1674 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

citizens that we are all equal. However, we are celebrating the family as the linchpin of society. The family structure is very important.

I personally would like to celebrate the family dynamic as we know it, the traditional family. I agree with Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas. They are quite right when they say that the traditional family model has taken a bit of a battering. There is no doubt about that at all. It is very important that we as a society embrace single-parent families and families in difficulty as part of the mainstream structure and take care of them. But this does not mean-and this is where I take a point of severe difference with the views that Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas have put forward-that we should look at radical definitions of what a family might be. I do not believe we should do that.

I think traditional families as we know them, although in some cases these families are under stress, are integral to the success of our society and where it is going. To play around with family structures and to have radical laws in place to allow, for example, same-sex couples to have families would be a damaging move. I do not think it is essential to the future of our society. Indeed, I think these things would damage the fabric of our society as we know it.

I agree with Mr Corbell and those opposite that, wherever we can, we must increase our support to families and the family structure within the limitation of our resources. I must disagree with the point that the federal government has not given a toss about families. This is a bit of an emotional bite that some people take.

Over six years, the federal government has brought interest rates down to billyo, managed the economy in such a way that families right across this great land of ours have been more empowered to get on with raising their families and nurturing their kids. I have no truck with the comment that Liberals here and Liberals at the federal level are unsympathetic to caring for families. It is a load of rubbish.

I was pleased to hear Mr Corbell talk about adding value to the community schooling family-oriented programs we have in place. It is important that through the education portfolio we continue to reinforce the success of the family structure and talk up the value of family.

We ought to recognise the role our multicultural families have played in the last 30-odd years in changing the face of society. They too reinforce the core values of family which perhaps some of us Anglo-Saxon wretches have probably forgotten. It is important to celebrate their role in society in maintaining the strength of the family unit.

We should take our minds beyond our shores and remark on the strength of the family unit in many overseas societies in difficulty. In overseas countries having a terrible time it is amazing to see how strong the family unit is. As a contribution to encouraging peace around the world, we as a developed country have a role to play in providing good international aid programs that support families and family structures. If we support women and their families, we will help to deny the macho gun culture elements that exist in many places. I would encourage our government and our community to donate privately to aid programs that help and empower women and their families as a way of breaking down the stresses and strains that exist in societies in great difficulty.

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