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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5140 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

The Australia Day committee is continuing with other activities that it has planned for that day, including the flag-raising ceremony, the Great Aussie Day Breakfast and Picnic in the Park. The only thing that is not proceeding is the concert which our peer assessment panel recommended that I not fund-and I agree, because it duplicates an already announced event on the previous evening. Those opposite can put aside their conspiracy theories.

The Australia Day committee already receives about $35,000 in direct funding from the Australian government to support its activities, as it does around Australia for Australia Day and for various other things. The National Capital Authority has also provided some funds for festivities in Canberra. I hope people will be happy to attend the National Capital Authority concert and cheer Mr Howard and very properly cheer the Australian of the Year who will be announced there, and then attend the activities that have been organised for the next day, Australia Day.

I did make a comment at one stage on radio-I think correctly-that the Australia Day committee was unrepresentative. I am delighted to see that Mr Stefaniak is a member of that committee. It is my understanding that you become a member of that committee by invitation. This committee is a bit of a closed shop. There are fine people on it and they may be representative of various people or groups around this city but it is a bit of a closed shop. I encourage the Australia Day committee to expand its membership-I could come up with a few names-and improve communications. Perhaps it could advertise in the newspaper-I do not know if the Australia Day committee advertises in the newspaper; I do not believe it does-for interested people to join.

Mr Smyth: Did you ask them?

MR WOOD: No, I have not. I might do the advertising. I might advertise in the paper for prospective people for the Australia Day committee, as I often do. I do it for the Cultural Council, for example.

Mr Smyth: It's all central control now. The government will run the committee.

MR WOOD: There is no central control, but I think there is a bit of central control about the Australia Day committee in that membership is by invitation. It needs to open up. I think it can do a whole lot better with its applications in the future and to be more inclusive of the whole community.

MR STEFANIAK (5.54): I am amazed at what the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services has said. Minister, if my presence on the Australia Day committee is a problem, I will happily resign. I was wondering what was wrong with this committee. I have been on and off it for about 11 or 12 years. There have been some very prominent Labor people on the committee, such as the late Fred Daly. I recall Fred Daly speaking in the park and I assisted him on a few occasions, which was great. The late Joan Taggart, a tireless worker, was also a member of the committee, as was Ellnor Grassby. Maybe they were all the wrong faction; I am not too sure. I looked through some of the names of those on the committee.

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