Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (12 March) . . Page.. 974 ..
MS MacDONALD (continuing):
grass, at times some kangaroos and occasionally other wildlife. Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial and, more recently, the National Museum of Australia are just some of our noble buildings that Denman could only have imagined.
Canberra is the home of federal parliament and the public service and Canberra bashing is up there with cricket as a national sport. That puts me in mind of being overseas last year and visiting Washington DC. It is in a similar situation, even though it is quite a bit older than us, in that it is 10-mile square except for a small hole at the bottom where, I think, Virginia refused to give up land and make it exactly 10-mile square. The bashing is derisory and it is seen as an easy way to get ahead if you are a federal politician in the United States to talk about something happening inside the beltway, the beltway being the main road that rings Washington DC.
Ms Tucker talked about some people bemoaning the fact that we did get self-government, while others were looking for some form of representation and self-determination. While the people of Washington DC have their local city council, they do not have a representative at the federal level; there are no representatives in the Capitol building of Washington DC. Their number plates these days actually have on them "Taxation without representation". An interesting push is taking place in the United States at the moment to try to get representation for Washington DC. That was a bit of a digression on my part, Mr Deputy Speaker.
After the January fires, Canberra bashing took a bashing itself when Paddy McGuinness dared to claim in the Sydney Morning Herald that Canberra was a dysfunctional socialist utopia created by upper level bureaucrats and academics. The Sydney Morning Herald was flooded with letters and phone calls as people from all over Australia defended their capital.
Canberra has a soul, despite what some of its detractors used to say. We have always known so, but the rest of the country found out in January. Our city's soul was evident in the Lyons recovery centre, the evacuation centres and the emergency services headquarters. Our soul was evident when people cooked for neighbours who had lost their houses, searched for missing pets, looked after frightened children and donated recovery funds. Our soul was evident when electricity, gas, telephone and water workers worked 24 hours a day to get services running again, and it was evident when we all cut our water use to prevent the system overflowing those few days after the fires. Our soul was evident in the tears, laughter and hard work that followed the fires.
I am proud to live in Canberra. Not having been born here, unfortunately for me, has set me up so that I can actually make comparisons between this city and a very large city, Sydney, and I am proud to call myself a Canberran. I am proud to have seen Canberra's community spirit burn brightly after the fires stopped burning. At 90, Canberra is still a young city, but it has survived a test that would have threatened established cities like Sydney and many of the other cities I was lucky enough to visit last year which have years and years of history beyond what we have throughout the rest of the country. I am quite sure that the entire country will join me today in wishing Canberra a very happy 90th birthday, with many more happy birthdays to come.
MS DUNDAS (5.45): I rise just briefly on behalf of the ACT Democrats to add to the birthday wishes to Canberra and to expand on the other points of Mr Hargreaves'