Page 1256 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 9 April 2008

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his children, Dale, Mark and Linda, and numerous grandchildren. I extend to all his loved ones the deepest sympathy of this Assembly in their time of mourning. It is important for us to reflect on a wonderful Indigenous role model whose goal in life was to witness the wonders of reconciliation. Uncle Bob, you will be missed tremendously by all.

Mr Bob Huddleston

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (6.17): I was not going to ask to speak tonight but I was very sad to hear about Bob Huddleston’s death; this is the first I knew about it, so I appreciate Mr Gentleman raising it with me. I know that it had been a very difficult path for Bob for quite a few years but, whilst it is a blessed relief for him, obviously there is a big gap in the Indigenous community, it having also gone through the recent passing of Mr Don Bell, a Ngunnawal elder. It is quite sad and the opposition would like to join with Mr Gentleman in wishing Bob’s family all the very best at this very difficult time.

Seniors Week

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.17): I just want to say a few words today about Seniors Week; I did not get the opportunity to speak earlier today. I was pleased that Mr Gentleman did list this as a matter of public importance earlier on and I think it is very important to note the way in which he referred to older Canberrans. I sometimes hear people referred to as “the ageing”, as if the rest of us are not also ageing. I certainly also found my former title as the shadow minister for ageing somewhat amusing, as there is very little a politician can really do about the ageing processes; I am sure, Mr Speaker, that even you will agree.

Mr Barr interjecting—

MR MULCAHY: There are plenty of taxes on the elderly, sadly, minister.

Older Canberrans play an important role in the local community. By virtue of their greater life experience they are able to impart valuable knowledge, skills and wisdom to younger people to help enrich their lives. Indeed, one often hears the saying that youth is wasted on the young. I think this reflects the fact that older people can use their substantial life experience to reassess what was of greatest value in their lives and how life should be lived. Unfortunately, the vitality, wisdom and experience of older people are sometimes lost to the community when they are isolated due to poor health or frailty, and the benefits of community life can also be lost to these older people, to the detriment of their standard of living.

Fortunately, there are many excellent community organisations in the ACT that provide valuable assistance to older Canberrans. For example, in my local area the Woden Senior Citizens Club runs a host of activities to allow seniors to remain active in the community. Some of the activities that the club runs include courses by the University of the Third Age, dancing classes, card games, games of carpet bowls, a choir—a very good choir, I might add—computing classes, a craft workshop, exercise and hydrotherapy, painting and drawing, theatre productions, table tennis and tai chi.

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