Page 4878 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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We could see the regrowth on the Brindabellas. Turning around before reaching Mount Stromlo, we could see the areas that will be rebuilt at the Stromlo and Uriarra villages, but we could not see the Pierces Creek area at all. That is right, there was no view of the Pierce’s Creek area, even from that lofty position in the chopper. I guess it begs the question as to why the NCA is hindering the ACT government’s rebuilding of this area when it is so far from Canberra and the central areas controlled by the NCA.

Joining me for the ride in the Squirrel was the territories minister, Mr Jim Lloyd. He could not see Pierces Creek from that lofty position we were in either. It is interesting that not even from a helicopter could Jim Lloyd see Pierces Creek. One has to wonder why this minister and the NCA would have any interest in a settlement so far out of the way that Jim Lloyd could not even see it from a helicopter. I congratulate Minister Hargreaves, the NSW government and the federal territories minister for their cooperative approach to natural disaster management. I am very proud that our local pilot, Matt O’Brien, will be looking after us again this summer.

Mr Mick Gentleman

Ms Mary Porter

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (6.15): I did not hear all of Mr Gentleman’s closing speech this afternoon on his IR motion but I do not think he responded to my challenge, which was to explain, without notes, why he opposes secret ballots. I do not think that would have been very hard to do. I would have thought that someone as passionate about industrial issues as Mr Gentleman—someone with the background he has as a union organiser—would have had no trouble explaining to us, without a written piece of paper in front of him, exactly why he opposes secret ballots and exactly what they do. I again challenge him to tell us when next he gets the chance to speak.

Maybe he could occasionally do some other speeches without notes. Mr Gentleman often reads from his papers and uses nasty words. He attacks me, he attacks the opposition leader and he attacks Mr Mulcahy. We want to see some passion from him sometimes. We want to see him drop the notes and tell us what he really thinks. That is what I expect from the Labor Party, from the passionate union activists that we see on the other side. I look forward to seeing a bit of that in the future.

Unfortunately, even when Mr Gentleman is reading, he sometimes comes out with funny statements. I will highlight this one because I think it is an issue. In the context of having a go at me yesterday he said, “I see no problem with this recommendation; it helps achieve gender equality. If we do not target minority groups, then how can we have equality?” Last time I checked, I did not think women were a minority group. I do not know if other people are able to count, but I think women make up about 50.5 per cent of the population, or something along those lines.

The term “minority group” suggests that people are in the minority, and the term is offensive. I think the affirmative action policies of the Labor Party in their preselections and in other areas are offensive to women. They suggest that women are not up to the task, but I do not believe that. I believe women have an amazing amount to contribute to society. I do not believe affirmative action for so-called minority groups in relation to women is the way to go. I think that is quite a silly use of language.

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