Page 4591 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 18 October 2011

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Farm Fresh, Chef Works and the Hong Kong Chefs Association. Also, thanks go to the Hyatt Hotel Canberra, Blue Star and Elite Sound and Lighting.

There have also been a lot of personalities involved for a long time. Margaret Reid is the patron and has been for 25 years. People like Lyn Mills from the Canberra Times and Hugh Eldridge have been also associated for a very long time. Particular thanks need to go to Serge Dansereau and Don Rowling. Serge Dansereau, of course, runs the Bathers’ Pavilion in Sydney and sponsors an award. Through the Bidvest South Australian experience award, a young student is flown to South Australia where they work in some of the large hotels there and then do a tour of the Barossa.

I note that Paul Walshe has probably also been attending for a long time. ActewAGL sponsor a Hong Kong study tour where the winning student actually goes to Hong Kong for a period of time and they go around all of the major hotels. It was just delightful to see last year’s winner tell people what a wonderful time he had.

Last night’s award graduates were Matthew Breis, Sam Death, Peta Hunter, Daniel Marsalek, Jemma Patat, Cory Pont, Witsawat Sanglub, Aaron Woodford and Maria De Los Angeles Echeverria Marquez. And Maria De Los Angeles Echeverria Marquez was, in fact, the winner on the evening. She is a delightful young lady with not just an immense amount of skill but an immense amount of personality as well. She is a very worthy winner by all accounts.

I think it is important that we have an attitude of supporting excellence amongst our young people and giving them opportunity. This is an award that has certainly done that in Canberra over the last 25 years. I commend all those who have been involved, particularly Helen Bain and Ralph Bain, who have been the MCs. (Time expired.)

Mr Andrew Bolt

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (5.57): There has been a lot of debate in recent days about the judgement of the Federal Court in the Andrew Bolt case. In that case, Mr Bolt, a conservative columnist—some would say a shock jock of the print medium—was found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act. Bolt had published articles in the Herald Sun newspaper which listed members of the Aboriginal community who had fair skin and suggested they were not legitimate Aborigines. He even insinuated that they had chosen their racial identities to advance their own careers and financial interests. Implausibly, Mr Bolt singled out people like Mick Dodson for this sort of reductionist 19th century bloodline analysis and grubby innuendo.

Justice Bromberg ruled that these articles were likely to offend, insult, intimidate or humiliate fair-skinned Aboriginal people. Importantly, though, this was not the point on which Mr Bolt’s case turned. Our society does not outlaw, nor should it, all conduct which might be offensive or insulting. It is crucial to the functioning of our democratic institutions that people are free to speak their minds in good conscience on matters of public interest. The Racial Discrimination Act reflects this fundamental principle. It exempts from liability offensive conduct which is nonetheless considered fair comment, artistic expression, or genuine academic or scientific debate.

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