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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (13 November) . . Page.. 3510 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I have a suggestion to make to the government. If the basis for its opposition to this motion is that it does not approve of some of the ideas that have been put forward in connection with this Farmhand appeal for drought prevention in the future, then make a donation and specify that the dollars not be spent on anything other than relief for those affected by the drought. I have no doubt that money will be accepted and will be used on that basis. If you are fair dinkum about being compassionate about people being in strife, in hardship, in distress, then do that Mr Wood. Mr Wood finds something absorbing on his desk to have to refer to and does not respond to that suggestion. Didn't Jon Stanhope say that Labor would be a compassionate government? Actions speak louder than words, louder than Wood as well.

Mr Wood said that he wants to match the ACT to New South Wales in all sorts of other areas. Let us see what New South Wales is doing. New South Wales has funded a state-based package. We have not done that as yet. I believe it behoves the ACT to contribute to Farmhand on that very basis.

Mr Wood quoted the list of the business people associated with Farmhand. For what purpose? He did not make it clear why he was quoting those names. He seemed to suggest, rather slyly, to the members of this house, "They are big business people. They could not possibly have a social conscience. You do not want to be seen to be supporting big business, so do not support the Farmhand appeal."That is a rather disgraceful argument.

He mentioned the slow activity of the federal government with respect to this matter. He cited the argument which I have firmly condemned with my children that two wrongs make a right. If the federal government has not pulled its weight, then neither should we. Dear, oh dear, Mr Wood!

Finally, he said, "You did not approach me early enough on the matter, so I am not going to play ball and support this appeal."

Mr Wood: I did not quite say that either, Mr Humphries.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, you did not quite say it. You made no argument very clear. You hinted at various things and did not spell any of them out very clearly. I am yet to know exactly why you will support this motion, except for the fact this is occurring outside our borders. I come back to you with the remark that we support lots of measures which operate outside our borders. In fact, all the natural disaster appeals the ACT has donated to over the last 13 years have been outside our borders. That has not stopped us from donating on those occasions. Why now?

We are not voting in favour of big business, the federal government, the sale of Telstra, farming practices, or even Alan Jones, by voting for this motion. We are voting to support ordinary Australians who are doing it tough, who are looking disaster in the face, who are suffering. You might not like some of the other bogymen you have created today, but do not leave those Australians out on a limb. They deserve our compassion. They deserve our support. This motion is one way of delivering that support.

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