Page 1143 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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Mr Coe: We’ve still got the owl.

MR SMYTH: But the owl was not a centenary gift. We will get to the owl in a minute. We now find that our poor Skywhale is in a tug-of-war—or perhaps a teat-of-war—between the two owners, one of whom valued it at $1.5 million. That is economic growth of $1.5 million, apparently. This is a good deal. The ACT government pay, on behalf of the taxpayers, $350,000 for a piece of art that is to epitomise the centenary. They then give it away without a guarantee that it would at least come back once every year, perhaps on Canberra Day or during the balloon fiesta. The Chief Minister says, “Skywhale is dead; it has reached the end of its active life.” He had to quickly recant, because, as on many things, he did not know the truth. Of course, Skywhale has probably still got eight to 10 years of life, and one of the potential owners of Skywhale—

Mr Wall: She lives.

MR SMYTH: She lives. That is right; she lives. This is the Moby Dick of the ACT. There is Andrew Barr, the Captain Ahab of the ACT: “Bring the whale down. That damn whale.” Mr Rattenbury is there—

Members interjecting—

MR SMYTH: This is the government’s commitment to high quality events: the ACT taxpayer pays for a balloon. They give it away because they do not want to or are incapable of running it. They make no guarantee that it comes back. ACT community groups who have already paid for it through their taxes have to pay to bring it back to the ACT to hire it. In the end we cut the umbilical cord—the Skywhale has floated off into the distance and it is now tethered to the Family Court in Victoria. Ms Fitzharris, thank you very much for bringing this motion on today. This is an outstanding motion!

Mr Coe: You can trust them with the light rail contract!

MR SMYTH: These are the people who now want you to trust them with a billion dollars to build a light rail. We cannot run a dirigible but we can run a light rail. What’s the bet they bring back the Hindenburg. You never know your luck.

It is an important motion. Having successfully outed the government on their failure to support or rumours that they will not be supporting Access Canberra, having outed the government on their inability to support the Skywhale, the member goes on to say that Canberra Day events this year were a continuing success with record attendance—I think we all enjoy Canberra Day—and that Canberra paid tribute to the centenary of Anzac with a special one-off concert featuring a traditional beating of the retreat ceremony by the Australian Defence Force and a performance from the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. A fantastic night; Mr Hanson was there, Ms Lawder was there, the Speaker came, I was there, Ms Porter, I think, was there from the government. I did not see the Chief Minister. I am not sure if he was there, but it was a great night.

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