Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2004) . . Page.. 247 ..
celebrations at Ballarat. As far as I am aware, there was no federal government representation at this significant event. That I find quite surprising, given that the federal government traditionally has engaged very strongly in these events at some level, but there was no official representation, I understand, by the commonwealth at that event.
More importantly, Mr Smyth made comment about flying the flag over Parliament House. There is one other flag that flies over Parliament House, that is, the standard of the Queen when she visits Parliament House. It is reasonable enough to have the Queen’s standard flying over Parliament House when she is in the building. I know that she is the head of state and that it is appropriate. But why not bung it outside Parliament House?
Mr Speaker, I think that that is the point we are all making: every other parliament was prepared to recognise the flag in a public and open way but not, regrettably, the parliament of the commonwealth. That is unfortunate. Nevertheless, I think Mr Gentleman’s point was well made and it is appropriate that that remain in the motion.
Mr Speaker, I congratulate Mr Gentleman for bringing the issue forward. I congratulate Jon Stanhope for his advocacy on this issue. He has in some ways actually shamed the federal government into doing something, because all these flags were flying around Parliament House but there was nothing on Parliament House and everyone was saying, “Why are they all around Parliament House but not on Parliament House?”
I think that the steps that the Stanhope government took to commemorate the event really did prick the conscience of our counterparts in the federal parliament. I am glad that there was at least some, albeit very modest and low key, recognition on the day in the federal parliament. I congratulate Mr Gentleman for moving the motion.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (12.20): I wish to support to Mr Gentleman’s motion to have the date of the Eureka Stockade remembered in the ACT. I do not support the opposition’s amendment. I see no mention in Mr Gentleman’s motion that the Eureka flag should replace the Australian flag on the top of Parliament House.
Today, we have had two versions of the meaning of Eureka from two ideological viewpoints. I would like to add mine. Mr Speaker, the writing and rewriting of history is a constant process, as new generations researching the past do so with the lenses of their times and their own preoccupations. Thus, the contributions of women and minorities are of more interest now than they were when I went to school. I would never have known that there were women on the goldfields if I had only been listening to my teachers and reading the textbooks.
Mr Smyth: Didn’t you watch Rush?
DR FOSKEY: Perhaps I was a child a little bit before you were, Mr Smyth. We tend to portray the Eureka Stockade as a men’s event, as though they were the ones who took an active role in the fighting that occurred. As a result, there were some shadowy players, including not only women but also some active Aboriginal people and others of colour. Evidence is also turning up which indicates that Aboriginal people played a role at Eureka as policemen and as providers of creche facilities for the miners and their families.