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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4671 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

certainly come to a completely new arrangement, probably an open, transparent and accountable tendering process in relation to the celebration of events on the day. We will, I imagine, develop a whole new process to avoid these very issues. We will go to the community. We will do it openly and transparently. We will look to a new way to ensure that we do meet the views, needs and hopes of this community in our desire as devoted Australians to celebrate Australia Day.

MR STEFANIAK: I ask a supplementary question. Chief Minister, what will the ACT government be doing to celebrate Australia Day other than the citizenship ceremony?

MR STANHOPE: We, as all devoted Australians, Mr Stefaniak, will be out there playing whoopee, having fun and celebrating what a great nation it is-and each of us will do it in our own way. Many of us will attend the functions that have been organised. As I just indicated, a range of other events have been organised, with significant funding from the Commonwealth-the NCA-and I look forward to enjoying them, just as I look forward to enjoying many of the other things that I and many others do traditionally on Australia Day.

It is an interesting view of Australia Day and our Australianness, our loyalty and our nationalism that is put about by some. We all have a different view about these things. We don't all have to go off to a flag-raising ceremony and salute the flag. We don't all have to go off and watch marching bands. We celebrate Australia Day, just as we celebrate all national days, in a variety of ways. I think that 322,000 very proud Australians that live in Canberra will find an appropriate way to celebrate Australia Day.

Many of us will perhaps think with regret about all those aspects of being an Australian today that do not bring us so much joy and pleasure. Many of us will dwell on how unAustralian it is to persist with the refugee policies that we persist with. Many of us will probably think how unAustralian it is that we have a government that will not defend Australians locked up in concentration camps in Cuba. Many of us will dwell on all those aspects of why it is not such fun being an Australian these days. We will think about why it is that the Liberal Party thinks it is fine to lock up children behind barbed wire in concentration camps in the deserts of Australia. Many of us will think about why it is not such a good thing being an Australian today-

Mr Cornwell: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I am happy to debate this matter any time if the Chief Minister has the guts to do it, but I suggest that it is not relevant to the question.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Cornwell, the Chief Minister was asked what he or his government would be doing on Australia Day, and I think he was telling you what he was going to be doing.

Mr Cornwell: Oh, so he is going to have a debate on the refugee policy, is he, sir?

MR SPEAKER: Well, what people reflect upon on Australia Day is a matter for the individual, and the Chief Minister, I think, is telling you about it.

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