Page 1139 - Week 03 - Thursday, 26 February 2009
was really very much a return to his maiden speech where he used a discussion which should have been shown some respect to just score political points and be quite disrespectful on a very important issue—which many people in the community see as an important issue. I wonder where he is getting his advice from if he thinks these sorts of actions are appropriate.
Mr Coe should have the maturity to recognise that this is a very broad community in which we live and that people have a variety of concerns which are important to them, regardless of their age. If he cannot, I really do wonder how he can represent the issues of his constituents—if he thinks that that was a bit of a joke today and if he thought he should just get up, be disrespectful and have a bit of a joke about it. It shows that he really cannot represent the concerns and the issues of his constituents if that is the way he chooses to approach issues like that.
Mr Coe suggested somehow that we the Greens were inappropriately using the Assembly as a forum to raise what I think he called “loony issues”. Apparently that is a loony issue. I find this an interesting statement coming from Mr Coe, given his conduct not just today but on other days.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (5.36): I want to use a bit of the adjournment debate today to talk about that issue of disrespect. I just wandered in and I found another instance of disrespect going on against a member who has worked very hard in her electorate. I find it a little bit hard to put up with that when there is another press release that is flying around at the moment out there which is “Dunne governs from the opposition”. That is saying that basically, because Mrs Dunne has managed to get through a very important FOI bill, a minor amendment, important to some people, around the Adoption Act, and a motion, suddenly Mrs Dunne is somehow running the territory. Let us not go over the top here with what other members may do to promote some of the things that they feel they have worked very hard on.
I would like to go to Mr Coe as well. Very, very disrespectful, Mr Coe. That was an MPI. There are many, many people in this community who consider how they may bury their loved ones and people who are ageing and starting to think about how they might be laid to rest. You come in and diss them in that manner for wanting to open up another option and have a discussion in a climate where we have a proposed new cemetery down in Tuggeranong. We have a public consultation process that will be going on down there; this may very well be one of the choices that people would like to see implemented in the ACT.
I felt that it was quite churlish of you to get up and make those remarks. I really felt that it showed a lack of preparation. We do have four of these natural burial cemeteries around Australia, and there are many across the world. This is something that has created enormous interest. Ms Caroline Le Couteur, since raising it—and not raising it very publicly; it has really been through word of mouth and so on—has had more than 40 people who have contacted her to talk about this option. We have an ageing population here in the ACT. There are many people who would quite like to have a conversation around this.