Page 3455 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 17 August 2011

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MLA Joy Burch was MIA at a recent event in Canberra.

Comedian and host of the Master Builders Association Awards Night, Anh Do, was apparently forced to “pad out” with a skit in which he pretended to be Ms Burch.

It appears the Minister for Community Services neglected to tell organisers of her last-minute decision to back out.

Concerned for her well-being, “Confidential” contacted Ms Burch’s media adviser, Victor Violante, and was told there was a miscommunication.

“Our office manager had notified the association well in advance that the Minister was unable to attend, however they did not properly record this,” he says.

The article said, “Happily, the Minister is present for the latest parliamentary sitting,” but I did note that once again the minister was quite late for an event this morning, an event that was supposed to run for half an hour from 8 o’clock this morning, where there were a large number of school children in attendance who were to perform. Unfortunately, Ms Le Couteur and I, who were there on time, had to leave before we could see all of the performances, and other members had to leave as well, because of other commitments—because Ms Burch was a quarter of an hour late. It is becoming a bit of a habit; someone in a position of such responsibility should keep her appointments on time.

Federation of Indian Associations of the ACT

Assembly business

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (7.29): I recently had the opportunity and pleasure to attend the launch of FINACT, which is the Federation of Indian Associations of the ACT. I had the opportunity with some of my Assembly colleagues, including Ms Burch, Dr Bourke and my Liberal colleague Steve Doszpot. It was a wonderful event and, I think, a very important event because the Indian community in Canberra plays a really important role. It is clearly a growing community which has played a very important role for a long time.

The point I made at the event was that I do not think we as a city or we as a nation yet value our relationship with India anywhere near as much as we should. India is a growing power. I believe it will be right up there with the United States and China as a pre-eminent world power in the decades to come. So our relationship with India is a very important one, economically and culturally. Whilst we are different cultures, we also have some wonderful things in common—a similar legal system, a love of cricket and a whole range of other things which mean that Indians have been able to very easily fit into the Australian community and contribute to the ACT community.

I congratulate Jacob Vadakkedathu on his leadership of FINACT. Bringing together around 22 organisations as a peak body for the Indian community is no mean feat. He deals with all of the politics that go on internally and obviously to do that is quite an

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