Page 354 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 December 2008

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Christmas a special time for people who otherwise may not receive a gift at Christmas time.

For older Australians without families Christmas can be a sad time. I would like to take this opportunity to commend Chris Ellis, who is the ACT convenor of the UnitingCare-Target Christmas appeal. Chris has spent many hours organising the ACT section of the appeal and will be working tirelessly to ensure the gifts are distributed to organisations throughout Canberra to bring some Christmas joy to those who are less fortunate than we are.

The work that goes on in so many charities around the ACT often goes unnoticed and can be a thankless task, but to you, Chris, and the many others throughout the ACT who are working hard, I thank you and pay tribute to your dedication and selflessness for the community. The Reverend Gordon Ramsay, who is the ministry team leader at Kippax Uniting, is also one such person.

I would encourage people, if they feel they can contribute to this appeal, to take a gift to any Target store in Canberra or elsewhere. It would assist the appeal if those donating gifts could also include a card indicating the age and gender the gift would be suitable for.

In conclusion, it is vital that we do remember all people at Christmas time, not just young people. Older Australians have pride and they have dignity, and it is important that we treat them as such, especially those in public housing who are already dependent on the state for their housing and other essential services.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: The discussion is concluded.

Latimer House principles

Debate resumed.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability and Housing, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (3.42): One of the tenets of the Latimer House principles is this collegiate approach that we have. It is the embracement of conventions that we have in this house. What we have got to be particularly careful about in trying to experiment with what we do in this chamber is that it does not inadvertently take away some of the tried and trusted conventions from the House of Representatives and the Senate and other things that have existed in this chamber since 1989.

We need to be careful, because the nature of this chamber is unique. We do not have the luxury of having two chambers. We do not have the luxury of having a series of local councils. Every other jurisdiction is a multifaceted one, and we are not. So we need to make sure that the processes and the procedures that we have fit nicely and neatly together, taking care of our state-wide responsibilities and our local council ones. We need to make sure that the framework—the legislative framework, that we operate within, the debating framework that we operate within, and the structure of this place and its committees—gives us good governance. What we need to do, of course, is be particularly careful.

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