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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4778 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

around the chamber. I am not sure whether that is what she was driving at. I just hope she is not being too thin-skinned about some of these issues, but-

Ms Tucker: It's about saying things that aren't true about people that you know nothing about.

MR PRATT: Like when-

Ms Tucker: You didn't hear me. That's what I said.

MR PRATT: Yes, right-such as people labelling people, yes.

Mr Speaker, I have a couple of points I want to raise. The first matter that I rise to speak about is Eid-al-Fitr. I would like to congratulate the ACT Muslim community in its celebration of the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting and deep observance of Islam. We have a significant Islamic community in the ACT, and I think we should just identify and recognise what they are celebrating at the moment. They are now exercising their three-day festival of Eid-al-Fitr, or Eid-al-Mubarak, which is basically the highest point of the Muslim calendar. So I give my regards to the Imam of the Canberra Mosque, to the leaders of the Islamic associations across the ACT, and to the various leaders in the Muslim community.

It is timely, in terms of the need to make sure that we maintain harmony in our community, that we recognise what the Muslim community is doing and how Muslims are celebrating certain things at this time. Of course, amongst those people is Mohamed Omari, the president of the ACT Multicultural Council, and I pass on my best regards to him.

If I may go to another subject, I too was concerned today to see the Chief Minister not giving a response at all about the failure by government to fund Australia Day. I think that is extremely disappointing and I think it reflects a marginalisation of Australia Day. Not only is Australia Day important, but I would have thought that in this community it was one of the peak days that we celebrate in the year, and therefore deserving of at least moral and symbolic support by the government, even if it cannot find all the resources.

I feel that the Chief Minister today, in the way he discussed this matter in question time, demonstrated a great disrespect for Australia's national day. I think he demonstrated disrespect for the achievements of our forefathers-the background to why Australia Day is Australia Day. And sometimes symbolism is important. Certainly we see that on the other side of the chamber symbolism is important. The bill of rights and industrial manslaughter as symbolic gestures of left wing politics are very important. They certainly attract the spending of a lot of money, and certainly more money than is going to be spent on Australia Day. So I am extremely disappointed, and I must say I thought it was rather churlish of the Chief Minister that, when the subject of Australia Day arose, he could not help talking about some of the more negative aspects of Australian history.

I do not know why that happens. We should be proud of our country. We embrace its strengths and its weaknesses. We understand that we have had some failings in the past, and we know we have to address those and move on. But to be too negative too often is not good for this community. And particularly we who are exercising leadership in the

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