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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (12 March) . . Page.. 976 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

Hopefully, one day we will be able to celebrate here these types of feel-good motions without their being turned into political punching bags. We are all proud of this community. It is one which has developed a fantastic spirit and which has the soul that some people used to say it did not have. It has also developed leading capabilities which are held in high regard by other communities in this country not so well off. We must note and celebrate those advances. With that in mind, I wish the community a happy birthday and thank the house for giving me the opportunity to get up and say just that.

MR HARGREAVES (5.51), in reply: I will be quite brief, I would hope. Firstly, I am a bit disappointed with Mr Pratt's qualified statement. There are a few things on which I would give advice gratuitously to you, Mr Pratt. Firstly, you should not be so mealy-mouthed when you come into this place and talk about celebrating something. Secondly, if you want to find out how people really feel when they are actually speaking in this chamber, try coming down and sitting in here, instead of listening to the broadcast of the proceeding on a TV upstairs. Maybe you would then get a bit of a feel of the power coming out of it.

Thirdly, you should stop being so paranoid when people are congratulating various governments federally and locally for things that they have done. I do not pull any punches when it comes to condemning people such as Malcolm Fraser for giving this town particularly a financial vasectomy. I was not very impressed with that. That is for another time completely, but you raised it, Mr Pratt. I think it was totally inappropriate to raise it and I am not happy. You should get a life, Mr Pratt.

In terms of what we should be celebrating in this town, I will give you another quick example. I meant to make mention of it in my original speech. The Westminster parliament is something like 600 years old. I cannot remember the exact figure. I am sure that the chamber support will correct me if I am too far out, but it is something like 600 years old. When I attended a Westminster seminar recently, thanks very much to the support of the CPA, I found that the ACT's Legislative Assembly was so far ahead of that parliament in the application of democracy and its committee system that that parliament was taking advice from us.

When I went to a number of scrutiny of bills committee meetings I found that this parliament was way ahead of many older ones within this country on parliamentary procedure. For such a young jurisdiction, one 90 years old, we are not doing too badly, thank you very much. There are many things about this town that we need to celebrate. We ought to walk around this place with a smile on our face, proud that we represent the people of Canberra and, for once, just get a life and celebrate the 90 years of existence of this town.

Motion agreed to.

National disaster program

MRS BURKE (5.55): I move:

That this Assembly calls on the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community

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