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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5148 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

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 ...

I was ashamed to read this. Some of the detail may or may not be true. My personal view of this, from the information I have, is that it is extreme. These are the words of someone who is unhinged. The Chief Minister, in an attempt to put his own stamp on things Canberran, was extreme in the way he made this decision. There is almost a perception, a sense, of resentment from this man and from this government. They are doing everything totally opposite to what has traditionally been done for the ACT. I understand that governments like to put their stamp on things. The occasional vitriol comes out of the Chief Minister's mouth when he disagrees with something that another member says or does, such as he did today. We are used to the vitriol, the poison.

Mrs Dunne: No, the poison is mine. I do poison.

MRS CROSS: I am sorry. He said that to bait you, didn't he? I am concerned that the self-serving interest that relates to votes rather than uniting our community is driving this government's decision. The Chief Minister does not show snippets of leadership qualities. As I said earlier, he has made statements recently that some could describe as unhinged.

Mr Wood: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: this is not relevant to the debate.

MRS CROSS: This is about Australia Day. It is very relevant.

Mr Wood: Mr Stanhope had no part in this decision, Mr Speaker.

MRS CROSS: It relates to patriotism. It is relevant.

Mr Wood: It is not at all relevant, Mr Speaker.

MRS CROSS: It is relevant.

MR SPEAKER: Order! I will rule on Mr Wood's point of order.

Mr Wood: This is just an attack on Mr Stanhope. It is not a debate about this.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Cross is entitled to refer to comments that were made by Mr Stanhope about Australia Day. It is unparliamentary to describe him as unhinged. I would ask you to withdraw that.

MRS CROSS: I withdraw 'unhinged'. I found the comments pure theatre, self-serving and a gross exaggeration of the facts. No rational person would talk like this. The comments were cynical. It was nothing more than a political point-scoring exercise and unpatriotic.

We are talking about Australia Day. Irrespective of the political affiliations of any parliamentarian, irrespective of their position and their opinion on what the federal

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