Page 573 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 5 March 2008

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The tour is a major logistical effort that affords Australians in cities, towns and remote outback spots the chance to share in this significant and holy occasion. World Youth Day itself is an important event that will see hundreds of thousands of people converge on Sydney, and a significant number will also be coming to Canberra. During the last World Youth Day held in Cologne, Germany, there were 435 registered pilgrims from some 197 countries, 800 bishops and cardinals and 7,000 international journalists in attendance. I was amazed to discover, when researching World Youth Day, that an incredible 1.2 million people attended the final mass.

This year’s event promises to be equally significant and will provide hundreds of thousands of Christians from Australia and abroad the opportunity to express and celebrate their faith. I understand that it will be the largest event held in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics, and it promises to be a wonderful occasion. It will also mark the first visit to this country of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

I am sure a great many Canberrans will be travelling to World Youth Day in July and that many of the pilgrims will be coming to Canberra, where I know they will be billeted by families in this community. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the very best to those who do come to Australia and to those who are involved in the organisation. I hope that the occasion is every bit as fulfilling as they are no doubt hoping.

I will also just touch on another matter that relates to an issue I raised in question time today—that is, public housing. There was some derision uttered from the opposition about this possibly being a question written by the minister. Far from that, in fact, I have conducted shopping centre meetings over the last couple of weeks in Red Hill, Griffith and Kingston, and I have experienced a large number of complaints from public housing tenants and other residents of those communities about antisocial and violent conduct. Those people are quite distressed, and they would not take kindly to seeing their concerns be made light of today as though some sort of dorothy dixer was being put up.

Last Saturday morning I was surrounded by people at Red Hill shops who came there specifically to talk to me. They cited the problems they experienced. Some of them were people living independently in Red Hill and others were living in a public housing complex. They spoke of intimidation. I was told by shopkeepers that drug dealing had gone on just 30 minutes before I and my campaign helpers arrived. They are completely frustrated and distressed by these matters. I have put questions on notice about some of the experiences I heard of in Griffith. I know there are not simple solutions, but people are reaching the point where they have had enough of violent, antisocial behaviour, people torching places, people intimidating older residents who are too terrified to leave their homes, people inflicting vandalism and violence on others and people engaging in drug selling in areas close to Canberra in broad daylight.


MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (6.24): Mr Speaker, I was listening to Mrs Dunne before, and I just want to mention that since I commenced my regular mobile offices again on

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