Page 1801 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 4 May 2005

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What an outburst! I have to say I take issue with Mr Pratt’s suggestion that Canberra is one of the graffiti-stricken cities in this country. Mr Pratt says that we are in a Third World country. I suppose he is drawing on his experience of skulking about the Balkans and looking at people adorning the place with graffiti.

Mr Pratt: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The statement that I was skulking around the Balkans is offensive. Under the standing order dealing with offensive language, I ask that that statement be withdrawn.

MR SPEAKER: I can see that you would be offended by that comment. Mr Hargreaves, withdraw that comment.

MR HARGREAVES: I withdraw it, Mr Speaker, and say instead that it was while Mr Pratt was swanning around the Balkans looking at these people perpetrating this heinous crime. Third World country is an interesting label. I do not suppose that Mr Pratt has been to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Hobart, New York, London, Paris, Washington, Boston, Singapore or Bangkok.

Mr Gentleman: LA.

MR HARGREAVES: LA. Thank you very much, Mr Gentleman. They are not all in Third World countries, but let me tell you: they have graffiti in spades in those countries! This scaremongering does not wash with me. I think that Mr Pratt ought to apologise to the good burghers of this town for bringing this town into disrepute.

On the one hand he says we are not doing anything and on the other hand he says we have added $3.5 million into trying to remove it. One might suggest an inconsistency. He says that he has had many reports on how it takes a long time to get the graffiti removed. We can have reports at 50 paces, if you like. Do you want to see the number of reports I have had from my own colleagues and from constituents about the new face of Hindmarsh Drive? It was a good target. It is not anymore.

Mr Pratt complains that the government has not removed the graffiti from private assets. Why have those people not removed it from their private assets? It is not the government’s responsibility to remove anything from private assets. If there are filthy alleyways behind the private assets of those very rich banks that bankroll the Liberal Party, then why are they not actually doing it? Why is it that someone can adorn the National Bank and the Liberal Party instantly jumps to their defence and says, “Oh, that poor bank can’t afford to remove that graffiti.”

Mr Pratt talks about tags. The Axiom tag is a good example. Everybody has seen that one. I have to say that very few graffiti items appear on a pristine wall at half past two in the afternoon just as a police car is cruising by. These people are a little bit sneakier than that, Mr Pratt. You know, anybody would know, that you need to have proof. You have to catch people in the act of doing it with a spray can in their hand. Guess what happened to the Ainslie shops?

I also suggest to you, Mr Pratt, that the tags are unique. You would know that. Guess what, Mr Pratt? The Department of Urban Services keeps a register of the tags, so that if

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