Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2004) . . Page.. 293 ..
criticism of the Australian government is unnecessary and I think Mr Smyth’s amendment is one that ought to be supported by the Assembly.
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.53): I do not support Mr Smyth’s amendment, and I thank Mr Mulcahy for his history lesson. However, his reflections just prove to me and to the rest of us on this side of the house that revision of history takes place continually and, in fact, has just taken place. Correct me if I’m wrong, Mr Mulcahy, but I believe that you said that I was born in Tasmania.
Mr Mulcahy: Tasmanian links.
MS PORTER: Yes. Whilst I am very fond of that state—I believe that it is a fine state—I was in fact born in Purley, Surrey, England, into a proud Labour family, as I mentioned in my inaugural speech. The fact that my father recently died in Tasmania would appear to be the reason you put two and two together and got the wrong answer. This is the way, of course, that we all make simple mistakes such as that. You put those two facts together and you came out with the wrong answer. That is the way history does get rewritten.
Therefore, I do not support the amendment and I do support Mr Gentleman’s motion in total.
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.54): I will be brief, Mr Speaker. I just want to say that I have heard members of the government say that the Eureka flag should be flown from the main flagpole at Parliament House. My understanding of that is that you cannot. Whether it is a convention or whether it is in fact an act of the federal parliament, I am not sure. But whatever it is—and let’s assume it is just a convention, but a strong one, that that flagpole, being the highest flagpole, I think, in Canberra, takes precedence over ours on Capital Hill, which is a bit lower—it has to have the Australian flag, the national flag, flying there as the only flag at all times.
I think someone also mentioned the Queen’s Standard. My colleague Mr Smyth tells me that he understands that there is a special flagpole for that. Whilst it is fine to fly whatever you like on Capital Hill—and we have had Raiders flags, Brumbies flags and all sorts of things there, for good reason, and I have absolutely no drama with the Eureka flag being flown there at the appropriate time—that would be the appropriate place for something like that, rather than the national flagpole on top of the national parliament, which always has to have the Australian flag, I think for very good reason.
The Eureka Stockade—I suppose I am a bit of a history buff—was a significant event in Australian history; no-one doubts that. But it was, as much as anything, a revolt against some oppressive conditions on the goldfields and effectively an unfair tax. Indeed, one of the chief instigators, Lalor, became an MLC and was regarded as a bit of turncoat later because he went against a lot of what some of the miners there had wanted.
Whilst it is a significant event, it certainly is not the be-all and end-all; it has perhaps been a bit problematic in that it does seem to have been hijacked a bit by the left in terms of the flag. I remember the BLF days and things like that. It is an impressive flag and it is an impressive event, but I think that there are very good reasons, at least because of