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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4711 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

I commend the motion to the Assembly and I thank Mr Hargreaves for bringing this motion forward.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (5.28): Mr Deputy Speaker, the opposition will be supporting this motion simply because we believe it to be true, and I thank Mr Hargreaves for bringing it on today. It is important that all people of good intention work towards an outcome where countries that are divided are reunified.

The Liberal Party shares the desire of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots for peace and reunification, and I think we are all particularly disappointed at the breakdown in March of this year of the settlement talks that were being hosted by the UN Secretary-General, with the aim of brokering a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus dispute. It is hard to believe that it was almost 30 years ago that this occurred and it is a shame that for 30 years a beautiful country has been divided and a beautiful people have been divided against themselves and isolated.

It is a shame that the Annan plan, as it is referred to, hasn't been adopted. We do note that it remains on the table and would urge all parties to resume negotiations as soon as possible. I think the actions of the federal government in appointing the Hon. Jim Short as our special envoy for Cyprus is a show of the support that I think all Australians have in trying to resolve a dispute that should never have occurred.

Mr Deputy Speaker, it is important to acknowledge the efforts of Canberrans, and particularly I think over the last 30 years, efforts through charity, efforts through the federal government, but particularly efforts through, say, the Australian Federal Police that have had an ongoing commitment to and presence in Cyprus-and a very dangerous presence in Cyprus-seeking to at least administer the divide as best we can and seeking to, I think, influence by our own attitudes a return to normality for the people of Cyprus.

We have with us today a delegation from the Cypriot community. I am pleased to say that I have worked with the Cypriot community for a number of years-either they have served me at the local milk bar or I have served them in the local supermarket through my family's newsagencies. Scattered throughout Canberra are the local Cypriots, and they are a very welcome part of our community. It is a shame that so many of them came from a country torn by war, but it is great that they were certainly welcomed by the local community. They have added much to what we have here, and we acknowledge their presence here today.

I think it is unfortunate that Mr Hargreaves let slip the age of the president of the Cypriot community. She carries it well, and she always serves her community so well and so justly. I am sure none of us did the maths.

The motion is a reasonable motion. I will move a small amendment. I think it is an important amendment, for two reasons. Firstly, in terms of protocol, it is appropriate that leaders write to leaders rather than other ministers. The amendment asks the Chief Minister in fact to write to the Prime Minister of Australia rather than the Foreign Affairs Minister. I think it is also an important symbol. I now move:

Omit all words after "... to convey", insert "this resolution to the Prime Minister of Australia".

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