Page 2895 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 5 August 2008

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The thing that was interesting was hearing him speak with fluency in so many different languages, something that was extremely well received by those who travelled across the world. The response was beyond anything you could imagine. I think that made people feel very welcome in our country and in our city and it certainly reflected wonderfully on the local community and the whole event. I think it reflected well on Sydney.

The event was an unqualified success. It attracted some 223,000 registered pilgrims. This included 110,000 visitors from 170 nations. In addition, there were many thousands of other Australians—I include my own family as one, and I believe other members from this place with families may have gone to Sydney—who were not necessarily registered for the event but who descended on Sydney to be part of what was happening in that city.

The World Youth Day ran from 15 to 20 July, and the fact that the event ran so smoothly over those days is testament once again not just to the wonderful work of the organisers but to the ability of Australia to host major international events without any significant hitches. I was in Sydney on the occasion of the Olympics back in 2000 and that was a spectacular event. But to be in Sydney and see the mass of people making their way through Sydney, particularly on the Sunday towards the end of the celebrations, was a sight that is without comparison. I do not think I have ever seen such a large body of humanity moving through Sydney.

There were no dramas. People were having a great time and cafes were full and people were walking around the city. I think it was a terrific example and reflection of confidence in our youth. They are very often criticised for all manner of issues, but to see so many young people behaving sensibly, reflecting their faith in their values, in a constructive fashion in our largest city and here in the capital, certainly moved me and I think it would move anybody, irrespective of what faith you may hold.

I was pleased in a very small way to be part of that. I commend those both in Sydney and in the ACT who were involved in putting together the logistics and the events and hosting the visiting families.

World Youth Day

Mad World Productions

Baptist Community Services

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.28): There are a couple of matters I would like to touch on, both relating to youth. Mr Mulcahy has spoken eloquently about the success of World Youth Day and I will not repeat much of what he said.

It was a spectacular event both here and in Sydney and it was a great testament to the organisers here that such a large number of people blended in so well. It was a shame that the weather on the Sunday for the commissioning mass of the Days in the Diocese was so inhospitable. It was a bitterly cold day. I think we may have had more people at EPIC if it had not been quite as cold.

But it was a great time here in Canberra and it was nice to see hundreds of people from France, Germany, Poland, the Pacific Islands and New Guinea and the spirit

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