Page 1019 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 15 March 2005
I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to some of the functions, but I understand that other members were not. Perhaps all members of the assembly should have been invited to the functions instead of some being selectively invited. They could have enjoyed things like the community protection medals, which went to some tremendous Canberrans. I know particularly of the work of John Hill in emergency services has done for years; and Dave Tunbridge and I have shared a few fire sites. Indeed I think he shared a few with Minister Corbell as well over the 2003 fires, when he was out there with his Molonglo unit. I think it would be fair to say that Dave is a long-term icon inside some of the brigades, because he has always been there.
The work of Joseph Murphy of the fire brigade I think is well known amongst his colleagues. Therese Barnicoat is perhaps less well known to the community, but her work in the AFP is something I have certainly been aware of for a long time. I congratulate all of them on the work they have done. I am sorry; I have missed Trevor Stohr from the ACT Ambulance Service, another individual who is well known inside his profession. That is probably the problem with each of these awards. The purpose of the awards is to bring these people outside the fold of their own organisation or their own service, because often these people are just not known outside the community in which they reside.
Some of the other events on the day I think were quite good. Sandy Hollway gave quite an interesting address about cultural cringe at the national library, and talked about some of his adventures as the CEO of the organising committee for the Sydney Olympics. Indeed I even attended a Young Liberals function on the day, celebrating Canberra Day, which was quite interesting as well. There is a huge range of things that go on. As to the success of the big party, I think a lot of people attended. I have had a number of people query the fact that 35,000 reportedly turned up. It does seem a big number across that day, but who is to know? Estimating numbers is always difficult.
I think it is appropriate that we celebrate Canberra Day. I make the point that, for almost three years—indeed the first term of this government—the celebrations of this city were allowed to slide. It is good that the government has at last acknowledged that these celebrations are important in building up the community; and it is good to see that they have reinstated fireworks for events on days like Australia Day and New Year’s Eve, and for the Christmas Party in Garema Place. All of those events were held under the former government, and indeed under the government before the former Liberal government.
Let us put this all in context: the celebrations are welcome. The work was good. Congratulations to those who organised the event, particularly the staff from Chief Minister’s, who did a very good job on this. But I think, in terms of the matter of public importance, I would be raising with you how we do these things in future. I think that just putting up things that acknowledge the day-to-day work of the government and things that governments, not just in this city but governments across the country, do is really stretching the issue of a matter of public importance. As you have probably found in your copy of House of Representatives Practice, there is quite a lot of history on how these matters are determined. Perhaps it is time we looked at them a little more closely.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (3.58): I think this was an important event. Canberrans traditionally like to get out and celebrate different things; we see it with Floriade and