Page 2263 - Week 07 - Thursday, 23 June 2005

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Perhaps I can go back a peg to the graffiti. I noticed Mr Pratt making an awful lot of mileage in the media about the laneway off Bunda Street, I think it is, not far from the Chairman and Yip, and Blades, to mention a couple of businesses. He pointed to one wall there that was covered in rather nasty, dirty graffiti. There were no obscene words or violent depictions; people had just scrawled their names there. He got the photographers to come out and said, “What a grubby little place this is; look at this.” But he did not direct everybody’s attention to the wall opposite it, which is sponsored by that responsible company, Blades. It is a piece of wall art; in fact it is a beautiful mural. I urge people to go and have a look at it. Did Mr Pratt put that in the paper? No. Did he draw people’s attention to the comparisons? No, he did not.

Mr Pratt: I don’t particularly like it.

MR HARGREAVES: Why? Because he says he did not particularly like it. That is a stand up judgment, isn’t it?

Mr Pratt: It doesn’t solve graffiti.

MR HARGREAVES: There was no graffiti on that wall. I went and had a look at it and I saw no graffiti on that wall. It is a well-recognised initiative that you can arrange for mural art, which prevents scrawling graffiti. If Mr Pratt has had the luxury of going to New York, he will have seen an entire five-storey building with a mural on it. That is the way to do it—to be proactive. It is unfortunate that Mr Pratt and his small business colleagues do not take a lesson from Blades, and commission some of their privately owned walls to have them prevent it. It is not the government’s job to protect and wipe clean private properties; it is up to them to do that. It can be done very easily, and Blades has shown us how.

Mr Pratt: Why don’t you just catch them?

MR HARGREAVES: We have significant fines; we have the rangers ready to roll; we have police patrolling and we have initiatives. All Mr Pratt has is bluff, bluster and blame. He really ought to think seriously about proactive initiatives. I have been talking about various initiatives that I picked up in Brisbane and other capital cities. There are some ideas on the boil again about more prevention processes, which we will roll out in the fullness of time. I am afraid Mr Pratt is a good generation behind that. Just because he does not like wall art, he puts all of it in the same category as graffiti. I am sorry about this, but he has to grow up. Wall art is an accepted social expression.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.54): Mr Speaker, I note that Mr Hargreaves said, in his concluding remarks, that Mr Pratt was guilty of two things: bluff and bluster. I think that Mr Hargreaves is guilty of three things: bluff and bluster at the beginning, then the talk when reading the speech prepared for him by urban services and then a couple of minutes more bluff and bluster. So he does bluff, bluster and talk up. I prefer Mr Pratt’s enlivened and invigorated approach to the subject rather than the reading of a speech prepared by the government that I could not really be bothered listening to.

It is interesting that Mr Hargreaves’s solution to graffiti is that we have formalised wall art everywhere; we have wall art everywhere in Canberra, on every wall in Canberra.

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