Page 1004 - Week 03 - Thursday, 3 April 2008

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as a by-your-leave or really engaging the community. We can engage the community on same-sex marriage, but we cannot engage them on something as serious as this. I find that very, very disappointing. I will be supporting Mrs Dunne’s amendment.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.57): I am rising to speak briefly on these two amendments. It is quite hard for me to see what difference they make. There is obviously a difference of nuance but, if we are talking about difficulties with scientific language, it is the change that these amendments make which is quite difficult for a person like me to see.

I have heard what Mrs Dunne said. I have heard what Mrs Burke said. I want to respond and say that I will not be supporting it. But I also want to respond to some of the things that have been said. I feel that to align what I have said with the fact that I have just dismissed this as a religious debate is absolutely undermining everything I have said. I think you only need to go back to Hansard and see that I have tried, in the 15 minutes allowed to me, to deal with some of the complexities.

I have actually studied ethics. To me, ethics is a rigorous and analytical system, and I do not like to see ethics called upon as a way of justifying something which I do not believe has been subjected to the hard-nosed analysis that the opposition keeps saying they want to delay this bill for. I understand the commitment behind people’s void; I can hear it in their voices.

But it is very wrong to dismiss different views as being lacking in ethical analysis, because these are difficult decisions. People have expressed disquiet. It is a disquieting thing to be in a place like this where your job is to authorise legislation about issues that none of us here has the scientific and medical knowledge to fully understand. Consequently, we must listen to what is told to us.

At 6.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly was put.


Commonwealth Day

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (6.00): Recently we celebrated Commonwealth Day, and the theme for this year was very fitting: “the environment—our future”. I attended a multifaith celebration at the chapel of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. As the name of the celebration indicates, there were many faiths present. The celebration included representatives from the Sikh community, the Jewish community, Sukyo Mahikari, the Muslim community, the Christian community, the Baha’i and Buddhist communities and the Jain and Hindu communities. We also enjoyed music and dance brought to us by the Woden Valley choir, Tongan choir, Maori performing artists, Indian classical and Chinese cultural dancers and the Ugandan African group.

But what struck me most about this celebration was the similarity of beliefs and values expressed by the different representatives of the different faiths. As I said, this was in response to a theme of “the environment—our future”. The message read out from Queen Elizabeth II as head of the commonwealth began, and I will quote straight from the document itself:

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