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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1908 ..


: Members, the level of interjection when ministers are answering questions, and the level of conversation, are too high-still. Supplementary question, Mrs Burke.


: In light of his high level of amusement on this issues, will the minister guarantee that, so long as he is responsible, there will be no similar reckless and unacceptable schemes in the future?


: Mr Speaker, what I can guarantee is that we will continue to go to these reputable firms. Where we want to talk to our tenants or engage in any way with the community, I am quite happy to go again to this highly reputable firm and seek their services.

Aboriginal tent embassy

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Chief Minister and is in relation to comments by Wilson Tuckey regarding the possible arson attack on the education building at the Aboriginal tent embassy early last Saturday morning. You may be aware that there was also an arson attack some weeks ago at the same place, and the building concerned had a family sleeping in it.

This week Mr Tuckey was quoted in a range of national media as saying that it was "just the latest sign of the growing community anger". Apparently, Mr Tuckey is neither alert to nor alarmed about this particular attack on Aboriginal families at the tent embassy.

Will you make a public statement condemning this attack, and will you write, as Chief Minister of this territory, to Wilson Tuckey calling on him to also condemn this violence, ensure that people's lives are protected and apologise for the shameful comments he has made in the media?


: Thank you, Ms Tucker. Yes, I was aware of the incident at the tent embassy. I have not made a public statement in the form of a written comment, but I have spoken to some media in relation to the attack and the violence. I have, of course, expressed my outrage at it. It is outrageous; it is completely reprehensible; it is unacceptable. It is all of those things-as is all violence.

In the statement I made, I repeated the position I have put and will continue to put: I and this government accept that the embassy is a site of enormous significance to indigenous Australians. In my view-and I say this quite genuinely-the Aboriginal tent embassy in front of Old Parliament House is perhaps the most significant symbol in Australia of the struggle by indigenous Australians for justice. I think it is a very significant site.

I am also conscious of the heightened level of anxiety and frustration in some quarters of the ACT community-and more broadly-in relation to the tent embassy. As everybody in this place will be aware, there is a degree of tension about the tent embassy in the indigenous community and certainly in the broader community.

I continually receive representations from Canberrans who have concerns about the embassy and about its extension and expansion. There are concerns, which I

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