Page 2777 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 16 August 2005

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Zunyi Acrobatic Troupe

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (6.00): Mr Speaker, I had the very great pleasure last evening of attending yet another successful show put on by the Canberra Theatre. I do not intend to steal Ms Porter’s thunder, having noticed that she does have something about the theatre on the notice paper. I just want to offer my congratulations to the theatre for staging, under somewhat difficult circumstances, what was and can only be described as a magnificent production when the Zunyi Acrobatic Troupe from the People’s Republic of China entertained a full house with some quite breathtaking manoeuvres and contortions.

The Zunyi Acrobatic Troupe put on an amazing show, combining acrobatic and gymnastic skills with dazzling innovative costumes direct from the People’s Republic of China. The acrobatics of Zunyi are an exotic flower in the garden of arts and today the ancient art still radiates with vigour. The Zunyi Acrobatic Troupe was founded in 1958 and over the past 40 years the acrobats have presented excellent performances. Their superb skills and perfect performances are based on their collective wisdom. Zunyi acrobatics enjoy a rich cultural background.

It certainly was really good to see a full house in the Canberra Theatre last evening. It was a cold evening, but people turned out in force. It was a great family show. There was even some audience participation, with Mr Chris Peters being up on the stage. How the lady concerned ever performed that magical trick, I do not know, but it was brilliant and it is well done by the Canberra Theatre to continue to bring on such shows. I commend to members the many great shows that the theatre puts on and foreshadow that on 26 September there will be another acrobatic group coming from China. All of the performers in that acrobatic group have some sort of disability. I encourage members to support such groups, particularly ones comprising our friends from China, with which we are fostering further and deeper relationships.

Pegasus Riding for the Disabled

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (6.02): Mr Speaker, I rise in the adjournment debate to reflect on the 30th birthday of Pegasus Riding for the Disabled, which was celebrated on Saturday, 6 August. It was my great honour and good fortune to be asked to speak at the birthday party, which was held at their premises in Holt.

The birthday party was a wonderful example in itself of the way people come together to support those who take action to address a need in our community. Thirty years ago a small group of people—Judith Burns, Bid Williams, Marcel Judd, Ruth Squair and Dr David Nott—got together and decided that they could change the lives of children with disabilities forever.

Bid recalled, “In the beginning we were woefully ignorant of the implications of the rider’s disabilities–we just had to ‘suck it and see’.” She also recalled that on the first afternoon, at Forest Park, a young girl who was usually wheelchair-bound rode under a tree and reached up to touch the leaves. Suddenly the girl shouted, “I can touch them.

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