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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 249 ..

Ms Tucker: I rise to a point of order, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. I want to draw attention to the fact that Mr Pratt objected very strongly to me interjecting. He asked me not to and I did not interject any more. He has continually interjected ever since. I am surprised that you have not warned him. I am asking you to ask him to control himself, please.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Ms Tucker, I will convey those sentiments to Mr Pratt. You have pushed the envelope right out, Mr Pratt. I do have the power to warn you. I would prefer not to do that, but please do not push me.

MRS DUNNE (10.03): Tonight, we are debating a fairly emotional topic and I think that we should be careful not to let our emotions get too carried away. I think that people on all sides of this debate should be a little bit careful about name-calling. We had a fair amount of that during Mr Berry's speech.

We have come here tonight to debate something that gives people from what seems to be a particular political perspective an opportunity to find relevance. For a long time, the Left has been seeking relevance. Since the end of the Cold War, which we won, they have been looking for relevance and have had to content themselves with protesting about something esoteric like the World Trade Organisation. They have managed to find relevance in the past few months and there is a hint of nostalgia in that relevance because they now have anti-war demonstrations to go to, just like they did in the old days.

I am on record as stating that we should not be having this debate here today. We have no authority and we have no expertise. This government has no mandate to adopt a position on Iraq and no access to expert advice. We are no better placed to debate this issue than any person sitting in the gallery, and they have all just left. We are just 17 individuals indulging ourselves tonight.

If this debate must proceed, I feel it is incumbent upon me to put an alternative point of view from the one fairly eloquently expressed by Ms Tucker and Mr Berry, which was without a doubt heartfelt. There is a range of perspectives in this debate and some of those other views must be expressed. I am standing here reluctantly because I feel that we need to have a rounder debate.

There has been a little bit of mud-slinging here tonight and I think that we should step back from that. But I am concerned with a position being taken at the moment. It seems to me that it is easy to be anti-war in this debate, in this environment. That was manifested tonight by Mr Berry gesticulating across the table and calling us wild-eyed warmongers. It is not that there is an even demarcation in that. It isn't that Ms Tucker and Mr Berry, for example, are anti-war and Mr Pratt, Mr Stefaniak and I are pro-war; it is just not that simple.

It is very easy for people on the "let's not go to war"side of the debate to start tarring people. There aren't people out there running counter demonstrations, saying, "Let's go to war."The situation isn't like it was in 1914 when people stood outside Buckingham Palace begging the king to declare war on the kaiser. People's appreciation of this situation is much more sophisticated and there is a view that it is just not an open and shut case. When you look at the pages of the national dailies you can see that it is not an open and shut case.

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