Page 468 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 10 February 2009

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past few days, we have seen it on websites, on television and on radio—inundations of offers of support, everything from rooms in houses, caravans, long-term accommodation, clothes, cars, massages and shoulders to cry on. Australians have been there for each other. It is an amazing country that we are blessed to live in:

A land of sweeping plains,

Of rugged mountain ranges,

Of droughts and flooding rains.

I was reminded of this iconic poem by Dorothea Mackellar over the weekend, as I saw the news coming in of the devastating floods in Queensland, whilst Victoria was ravaged by bushfires at the other end. Mackellar speaks the truth when she says:

Of flood and fire and famine,

She pays us back threefold.

But this is the land that we live in. It is complex, fragile and requires thoughtful management—something that will be an ongoing challenge for policy makers across the country as we reflect on these terrible events. Already, questions are being asked about how this happened and how we can do this better. These are important questions, and we must approach them with open minds that are focused on learning lessons and doing better in the future.

For now, though, our thoughts are with the people of Victoria and those who are still out there fighting the fires and dealing with the aftermath of these terrible events. We wish them strength and courage at this difficult time, and we mourn the passing of those who are the victims of this tragedy.

Question resolved in the affirmative, members standing in their places.

Sitting suspended from 10.44 am to 2 pm.

Alexander Maconochie Centre

Statement by Chief Minister

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (2.00): Mr Speaker, I table a copy of a letter that I wrote to each member of the Assembly on 19 December:

Copy of letter to Mr Corbell MLA from the Chief Minister, dated 19 December 2008.

I ask for leave to make a very short statement in relation to the letter.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: I thank members for their indulgence. As members are aware, I wrote to each member on 19 December in relation to a statement that I had made in the Assembly in the sitting week earlier that month—a statement that I learnt on

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