Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4666 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
were explained carefully and they were advised to be particularly clear about how their proposal complemented and did not duplicate the concert that had already been announced.
Despite this, the organisation chose to apply for funding specifically for an Australia Day concert and associated fireworks. Not surprisingly, the Festivals Committee and then Minister Wood thought the two concerts on two consecutive days to celebrate Australia Day was not a good use of scarce grant funds.
Of course, this is not the only activity planned for Australia Day. Australia Day in the national capital also involves activities like the great Aussie Day breakfast and the flag-raising ceremony, and the ACT government will be hosting the citizenship ceremony on the day.
I understand, Mr Speaker, the organisation receives funding from the federal government-$35,000-to assist them in delivering community activities on Australia Day. Other state and territory Australia Day councils around the country also received $20,000 from the National Capital Authority towards the day. However, funding was not sought from the ACT Festivals Fund to support these other activities, and the government would expect that these would be still going ahead.
The government is very supportive of celebrations for Australia Day. I can only speculate as to what the recommendations would have been if the Australia Day application had been for activities for other than a second concert. As members should now be aware, that is not what the organisation chose to do.
Mr Speaker, I am patron of dozens and dozens of organisations, which gives me great pleasure. I am very happy to lend the support of my office and the government to a whole range of organisations that do good work for the community, as does Australia Day in the National Capital.
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I am pleased the Chief Minister was prompted to remember that he is the patron of Australia Day in the National Capital. The question is, Chief Minister: what are you, as patron, going to do to encourage, protect, promote and support this organisation, as you are bound to do as patron? Will you restore the subject?
MR STANHOPE: I think that the Leader of the Opposition misunderstands the role of patrons fairly significantly. It is a matter of concern, I think, that he thinks that the role of Chief Minister, as patron, is to intervene on behalf of organisations. In fact, the basis on which I accept patronage of the myriad of organisations that I am patron of is that I will not use the influence of my office to advance or advantage a particular organisation. It is a quite explicit condition of my acceptance of the office of patron of all the organisations of which I am patron that I will not intervene on their behalf. That is the basis on which I accept the honour of being patron. And that is as it should be. That is appropriate.
That, perhaps, is not the attitude which the other side would adopt in relation to these things. They would intervene; they would use their influence; they would bring patronage to bear in the terms of the provision of particular resources; they would look at an application for funding on this basis: "Oh, well, I'm patron of this organisation, I'd better fund it; too bad about the rest, too bad about a level playing field, too bad about