Page 3646 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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The name the “land of the sleeping crocodile” comes from folklore and, whilst there are many versions which have been developed over time, it is thought that the name comes from a journey taken by a boy with the help of a crocodile and subsequently the crocodile’s eternal resting place, which is Timor-Leste. The crocodile plays an important part in the culture and history of Timor-Leste and is thought to protect its people. The diary provides travellers with an insight into Timor-Leste and the importance of the friendship between Australians and Timorese. Importantly, this diary records a number of Australian humanitarian and cultural projects, including those involving Canberrans that have helped forge a growing friendship between Timorese and Australians.

Timor-Leste is a country with a rich heritage. The diary details the issues surrounding Timorese life, which “is dominated by the here and now, the day-to-day business of survival”. Future planning has not formally been part of their culture. It is the fastest growing nation in South-East Asia. Unfortunately, it is also one of the world’s poorest, according to the UN human development index.

I thank Dr Stephen Utick for providing some information for me today. I have been very pleased to help promote this initiative by donating copies of the book Ten Canberrans and the Sleeping Crocodile to a number of Canberra government and non-government schools. I have encouraged the broader distribution to all schools across Canberra of this book.

I commend Canberra Friends of Dili—Dr Stephen Utick, Mr Robert Altamore and the whole committee—for their commitment to strengthening the relations between not only Canberra and its sister city Dili but also, more broadly, our countries. I congratulate them on another wonderful project. It is particularly relevant in our centenary year.

For the record, I would like to read into Hansard the names of the 10 Canberrans referred to in the book. The 10 Canberrans are: Barry Brown, president and convenor of the Canberra Friends of Dili; Robert Altamore OAM, secretary; Dr Tony Lamb, committee member; David Wintle, committee member; Glynis Kennedy, committee member; Janet Hindle; Dr Elizabeth Teather; Emeritus Professor David Teather; Dr Tomohiko Kimura; and, of course, Dr Stephen Utick, the 10th Canberran and the diarist.


MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Ageing) (5.42): Members will have seen, of course, in the last few days, the very difficult circumstances being faced in New South Wales with the fire threat in the Blue Mountains and nearby areas. I think we have all watched with some sense of dread as the situation seems to have got worse.

In the context of that, I did want to take the opportunity to acknowledge that the ACT has made a significant contribution to fighting those fires in New South Wales. Thus

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