Page 124 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2012

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Queen Elizabeth II

Eagles Sports Association

MR COE (Ginninderra) (6.08): I rise this evening in the adjournment debate, as I always do, to make remarks about what makes the Canberra community and our society the great place that it is. Later in this brief speech I will put on the record my admiration for a local sporting club aimed at engagement with the Sudanese community.

However, before I make mention of those local achievements, I will make some remarks about our country’s highest institution. This month marks 60 years since the Queen of Australia, Queen Elizabeth II, ascended to the throne. The stability, wisdom and guidance she has offered Australia, and indeed all members of the commonwealth, has been extraordinary. I think we all take for granted just how stable our constitutional monarchy is and how dependable the Queen has been.

Her reign has seen massive changes and events in the world—15 summer Olympic games, the construction and tearing down of the Berlin Wall, multiple wars and conflicts, 12 Australian prime ministers, 12 US presidents, the landing on the moon and much, much more. She has lived through an extraordinary time and her leadership has been timeless.

Just last year, Canberra was honoured to host Her Majesty and His Royal Highness for several days. During that time the world saw Australia through the national capital and it was a wonderful advertisement for our city as we approach our 100th birthday.

Mr Speaker, as is well known, I am proudly a constitutional monarchist because I believe the special arrangement we have through the monarch, governors, parliaments and our constitution serves us very well. I am disappointed that as yet the ACT Legislative Assembly is yet to honour the jubilee, as other jurisdictions in the commonwealth have.

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has written to all premiers and chief ministers requesting they collectively match the Australian government’s contribution to the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust. I look forward to hearing what Ms Gallagher’s response will be to the Prime Minister’s request and how the Assembly will acknowledge the jubilee.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend a local sporting group which is providing a valuable social connection for young refugees in Canberra. The Eagles Sports Association, founded by a remarkable young man, Garang Kuer Bul, is a basketball club that is helping unite young refugees in a very positive way. The basketball program Garang runs is for both boys and girls aged 13 and above. It has grown from just a couple of members to having more than 30 players competing in local competitions across Canberra.

While the teams are predominantly made up of Sudanese refugees, the club is open to anyone who wants to join. The group is also hoping to start a juniors program some

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