Page 108 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 12 February 2008

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struggle for East Timor. It is going to be a long struggle to overcome all the years of damage that was done, for instance, to generations of children who did not have the opportunity to go to school. A lack of education and access to meaningful work definitely contribute to the violence and unrest in East Timor. This is certainly well understood by international security analysts when they are looking at where the next trouble spot might be. I do not think East Timor is ever going to be a threat to any of its neighbours—quite the opposite—but there is a large group there that we would love to provide instant education and instant jobs to.

A friend of mine, Robin Davidson, did some work in East Timor. He is involved in using drama as a way of communicating with people and helping people. In many Pacific societies and other societies that are preliterate, drama is an excellent way of working with young people, and this is what he found in East Timor. Wherever he went hundreds and hundreds of people would gather. We are talking about a place where you do not sit down and watch TV every night after dinner.

Whether we like it or not, Australia plays a very, very special role in East Timor. We deliberately took that role on, and I was very proud of the Howard government when it made the decision to go in and support East Timor after the vote. I cannot even remember when it was now. I am sure that everyone in this house joins with me in wishing Ramos-Horta the speediest recovery to good health and that he is not deterred from the courage that he has demonstrated all these years. I believe that he and Gusmao have the capacity and the trust of a significant number of East Timorese and that our role is to help them to provide education and work to the young people of East Timor.

Environment—energy usage and climate change

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (6.14): Today I would like to talk briefly about two community-based initiatives that are currently active in the ACT, organisations that I believe this Assembly should commend and fully support in their quest to enact a social change in people’s perception on climate change. The first is the Social Environment and Economical Change Group, SEE-Change for short, a group that derives itself from the Nature and Society Forum and is committed to empowering people to learn more about social and environmental issues and, furthermore, to take action on them.

The goal of the Jamison SEE-Change group is to encourage and support action aimed at reducing the ecological and carbon footprint across the suburbs of Aranda, Cook and Macquarie by 30 per cent by 2010. SEE-Change’s aim is to work in close partnership with local and federal governments, schools, clubs and businesses to facilitate this action and to monitor the impact of these activities on the footprint of the area. At present it has three regional groups: the one I mentioned in Jamison, one in Woden and one in south Woden. Their membership is rapidly growing, and that was illustrated at an event I attend on the weekend.

On Sunday I went to Weston Park for the SEE-Change eco-friendly picnic. Dr Foskey was there as well. The picnic was organised to celebrate the community coming together on climate change. It was a fantastic afternoon of information, entertainment

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