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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5089 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

in the ACT in August 2003 were market driven and anybody that thought they were not market driven in Canberra in August 2003 was delusional.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth?

MR SMYTH: Just in case that wasn't emphatic enough: Treasurer, do you stand by your statement of 20 August or is Mark Latham delusional?

MR QUINLAN: I think I have answered that question, Mr Speaker.

East Timor

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Chief Minister. Can the Chief Minister advise the Assembly of the extent of the support that the ACT government has provided to the people of East Timor?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves. It is an important and timely question and it is appropriate that I advise the Assembly today of the nature of the assistance that the people of the ACT, through the ACT government, are providing to East Timor or Timor-Leste.

The road to nationhood for Timor, as we would all acknowledge, has been a long and often painful one. There have been a number of milestones along the road to independence-which was achieved in 2002-for Timor, one of which was the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Dr Ramos Horta and Bishop Belo in 1996. Over the last year or two, there has been significant support from within the Canberra community and, indeed, from within the government, for developing a relationship with Timor and with Dili in particular.

The ACT government has been supporting the development of that relationship for the last two years. We have committed significant funds recently to the achievement by this newest of the world's nations to the establishment of an embassy here in Canberra, the national capital. We have done that by providing space in the old Griffith Primary School, in particular-office space for the ambassador and for his staff and, of course, other space that befits the actions and operations of an embassy.

It was my great pleasure this morning, to officiate with Dr Ramos Horta, the Timorese foreign minister and first minister, in the dedication and opening of the Timorese embassy in Canberra. Interestingly, Dr Ramos Horta indicated during the presentation that he made at the dedication this morning that this is the seventh embassy that Timor has now established around the world.

He also indicated in his speech-I think without a sense of anything other than pride-that each of the seven embassies that have now been established by Timor around the world, as the most newly emerged independent nation in the world, has been provided as an interim embassy by the host governments. The government of the ACT has continued that practice today by providing an interim embassy for the newly independent nation of Timor-Leste at the Griffith school.

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