Page 3288 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 22 August 2012

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I did not support her amendment at the time because we were talking about the School of Music, which was under threat and is still under threat. I think it was the majority view of the Assembly that, while we believe the CSO needs support, including the amendment in the motion would have distracted from the core message, which was a message to the university about the School of Music. Time has passed. Ms Le Couteur did not move her motion, so I am here moving the motion. I anticipated she would support it because of the sentiments she expressed in May, and I am thankful for her support.

I am thankful for the support of all of the Assembly since then, and I hope this sends a very strong message to Henry Laska, the board of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, to their artistic director, Nicholas Milton, and everyone involved in the orchestra that there is support and appreciation for the work that they do here in the ACT.

Ms Le Couteur went through the full list of grants, and it is the case that it seems that the state capitals all once had an ABC symphony orchestra and that they now experience considerable commonwealth largesse because of that legacy while the territories struggle on with the crumbs. I do not begrudge the $200,000 for the Darwin Symphony Orchestra. When you consider the tyranny of distance, it makes sense that we should not begrudge them the fact that they receive more money than we do. We should be, in fact, encouraging the commonwealth to look rationally at how it funds its orchestras. When Tasmania has a population of not much more than us and receives funding to the tune of $5.9 million, perhaps we could anticipate in the fullness of time receiving some modest amount of money, perhaps $1 million or even $2 million.

This is something that we as a community should be working for. It would be a pleasant change for Minister Burch to come down here and just agree—just bring herself to put aside the bile just once and just agree. It would be interesting to do the intellectual test: if Ms Le Couteur had moved the motion rather than me, would she have said the things she did? I think not. She has to do the “I’m tougher than you; I’ve got more street cred than you; if I have to agree with you, I’m going to do it begrudgingly”. She completely and utterly miscalculated on the message and on the tone of the debate, and she did so to her disadvantage. She will be seen for what she is—a woman who is churlish and cannot give in good grace.

That having been said, I thank her for the support such as she gave, and I thank the Greens for their support. I hope that this will be a sign of a more concerted effort on all our parts to work with the commonwealth to get a better outcome for the Canberra Symphony Orchestra not just for the benefit of the people of the ACT but for the whole nation.

Motion agreed to.

Personal explanation

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Community Services, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Women and Minister for Gaming and Racing): I wish to make a personal explanation under standing order 46.

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