Page 1001 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 19 March 2013

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To the men and women, past and present, who have played their part in the beautiful city spread out before us, we thank you. And to those who will, in the centuries ahead, make their own contributions to Canberra’s ongoing story, we wish you well.


MADAM ACTING SPEAKER: Before I call the Leader of the Opposition, I would like to welcome some people to the gallery: former Chief Minister Rosemary Follett; former Speaker Greg Cornwell; former ministers John Hargreaves, Michael Moore, Bill Stefaniak and Bill Wood; former leader of the opposition Andrew Whitecross; and former members Amanda Bresnan, Roslyn Dundas, Meredith Hunter, Caroline Le Couteur, Louise Littlewood, Karin MacDonald, Robyn Nolan, and Lou Westende.


Debate resumed.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.13): It is my great pleasure to stand in this place today as few topics could give me as much pride as to speak to the motion celebrating the centenary of our great city. I thank the Chief Minister for bringing this motion before the Assembly today. Although it is normally a place known for its combative debate and its disagreement, there is no doubt in my mind that, whether you sit on the government benches or on the opposition benches, we are all united by our love of this great city, and this is one debate we can all agree on.

To the naysayers, I would like to quote the Chief Minister, who said last week in response to those people who knock Canberra, “Whatever.” Now, Chief Minister, it was not perhaps your most eloquent quote, but after 100 years it is time for us Canberrans to stand up for our city and not to care unduly what those who do not live here and do not understand us have to say about this great place.

We have our own history; we have our own culture; we have our own character. And it is special and it is unique. Yes, we are a planned city and, yes, at 100 we are relatively young. But in that time we have also created our own identity. We have been forged by fire and by flood, and we truly are a bush capital.

Canberra is special because it is our national capital, and that is why we are recognising our centenary today. But the place we know as Canberra was also an important location before 1913 and has been populated for thousands of years, and I would like to recognise the traditional owners of these lands and their successors.

Our great city was sprung from an idea arising from debates of federation. It was established and enshrined in our constitution and grown on the hard work, endless toil and sometimes sheer inspiration of those who saw a stretch of Australian bush and imagined a city for the future—who built it, grew it and willed it into being. Today we live in the spoils of that foresight, and we are privileged to stand in this place to

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