Page 5621 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 9 December 2009

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what he is doing, is quite amusing. I just could not let the day go without referring to both of those media releases today. They are very amusing indeed.

Tackling Peace

Tuggeranong Community Council

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (6.55): In late October this year, I attended the special screening of a film at the ACU, the Australian Catholic University. The invitation was from Dr Raymond Canning, Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Inter-Religious Dialogue and the film was called Tackling Peace. It was the story of young Israeli and Palestinian men who unite over the game of Aussie Rules football. This crossover between two of my portfolio areas of multicultural affairs and sport and recreation rapidly captured my attention.

The film was narrated by Hugo Weaving and it relates to the behind-the-scenes real-life drama as young men from different sides of a bloody political war set aside a lifetime of prejudice and hostility to compete as a team in the Australian Football League’s International Cup. Few of the aspirant players had ever heard of the game or AFL and none imagined befriending team-mates from across the political divide. This was the brainchild of a Sydney-based AFL footy fanatic mum, Tanya Oziel, and the Peace Team was an initiative of the not-for profit Peres Center for Peace.

From a local point of view, there is additional interest as the film features legendary AFL footballers Kevin Sheehan, Ron Barassi and Robert “Dipper” Di Pierdomenico, and their efforts in teaching these young men about a strange game in just a few weeks and then getting them to work as a team. It then documents this group of Israelis and Palestinians in their quest to make it to Australia and play together against the world.

Getting to the International Cup is a logistical nightmare. It can take hours for Palestinian players to cross checkpoints into Israel, the training ground does not have AFL goalposts, players have never seen the game played, they speak different languages—Hebrew, Arabic and English—and have complicated kosher or halal food requirements.

This is all I am going to tell you about this film at this stage as I hope you will all join me in mid-March as our guests at a special showing of this film in the Assembly Reception Room so that you can see for yourselves the incredible journey of this group of young Israeli and Palestinian men who unite over the game of Aussie Rules football in their quest for peace and understanding.

On behalf of those of us who saw this special screening, I would like to thank Patricia Abbott and Dr Raymond Canning for bringing this film and wonderful initiative to Canberra and to our attention.

Just very briefly, a few weeks ago my colleague Brendan Smyth made an adjournment speech thanking the long-serving outgoing President of the Tuggeranong Community Council, Mrs Rosemary Lissimore, and her husband David Lissimore, for their contribution over 19 years to the Tuggeranong and Canberra communities.

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