Page 317 - Week 01 - Thursday, 9 December 2004

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expectation that, if these matters can be looked at favourably, it will help in relation to safety.

A number of older residents live in these areas. They have indicated that they have fallen and they have cited various streets that are a problem. Improvements in this area and the minister’s consideration of this particular part of Canberra would be well appreciated, I know, by the residents of Forrest and Yarralumla.


MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (6.28): I will be brief. Recently, there has been a bit of debate about how we celebrate Christmas and how much emphasis we put on it, given that we have people from many different backgrounds and many different faiths in our society.

I place on record my belief that Christmas is an important part of our culture for Christians and non-Christians alike. It is part of Australian culture and it is something that we should celebrate. We should not downplay it in any way. It is a great unifying thing. I do not think that people from other faiths are in any way offended by the celebration of Christmas. As a society, we should do that and do it with pride. It is a great part of our upbringing.

I know that most Australians really look forward to Christmas: they look forward to spending time with their families and they look forward to celebrating it in the way that they choose to. I will not say much more about that. I just place on record that I think we should feel free to celebrate it. I do not think it offends anyone.

I would especially like to thank all the Assembly staff that have helped me settle in over the past few weeks. I have really enjoyed this first sitting week. The Assembly staff have been fantastic. I place on record my gratitude to them. I thank Mr Corbell and his staff for arranging briefings for me.

We have not got to the briefings with Ms Gallagher, but I thank her for making me feel welcome at the functions we have been at together. Sometimes it has just been Katy and I—no-one else has shown up. I thank them for their goodwill. Mr Speaker, thank you and I wish you and your family a merry Christmas. I wish all members—my colleagues, those across the chamber and Dr Foskey—a very merry, happy and safe Christmas. I thank my staff—Justin and Ryan—and I wish my family, all my constituents and all the people of Canberra a very safe and merry Christmas.

Chris Uhlmann

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.30): Yesterday, when the untimely adjournment occurred, I was about to note the success of the ABC in the Canberra Film and Television Council awards and the program Stateline in particular for the documentary “Where there’s smoke”. The person who was instrumental in that was Chris Uhlmann. As people would know, Chris has spent five years doing the morning show at the ABC with David Kilby. But, after many years in the media and the ABC, he has decided that he needs a change of lifestyle and will be moving to Melbourne.

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