Page 2271 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 4 August 2015

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and Torres Strait Islander people across the country who feel the sting of racist attitudes in Australia today.

I will endeavour not to speak on anyone else’s behalf, tell people how they should feel or claim to understand what I cannot—as so many non-Indigenous people have presumed to do. Instead I have looked to the comments of those who can understand—Warren Mundine, Nova Peris, Michael O’Loughlin, Stan Grant, Michael Long and others. Their experiences point to the fact that history is repeating. A section of the football community has been put out of its comfort zone by a proud Aboriginal man willing to be outspoken about his culture and has reacted against it.

For the media commentators so keen to write this off as trivial, I suggest that they are the most threatened by this kind of statement. It is okay for us to be put out of our comfort zone sometimes. It is inevitable. There are many uncomfortable truths in the history of black and white Australia, but we have to learn to acknowledge this reality if reconciliation stands a chance—not react against it, especially not through boos while standing faceless in a crowd. As we try to progress a national conversation towards an agreed way to recognise the first Australians in the constitution, we have got to do a whole lot better.

Real social progress tends not to be made unless advocates are willing to risk making others feel uncomfortable. I pay tribute to Adam Goodes and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are prepared to do so. It is leaders like him who are some of our country’s greatest assets in the cause of reconciliation if only we are willing to embrace them.

ACT Telstra business awards

MR WALL (Brindabella) (5.26): On Friday, 17 July I had the pleasure of attending the 2015 ACT Telstra business awards along with a strong contingency of local businesses up for awards on the night. We were joined with alumni of the ACT business awards, with winners of previous years. I would like to commend all the businesses nominated in each category and the diverse number of local businesses represented on the night. In particular, I would like to congratulate the award winners this year.

The award winner for the start-up award went to Alliance Leasing, founded by Michael Lindgren. This business offers an innovative approach to novated leasing and strives to assist employers to attract and retain staff. The judges commended Alliance Leasing for its clear vision; great competitor analysis; and strategic and targeted employment plan, where they choose to employ former sports talents for their strong teamwork ethic, which has delivered great dividends for the business.

Winner of the microbusiness award went to Barmco Mana Partnership, which is a local business created in 2008 to service both government and private clients in the management of building projects, specialising in large-scale construction projects. Barmco Mana Partnership’s past projects have included the Nishi building and the Doris Blackburn building. It has also completed work on several Calvary hospital projects. The judges commended Barmco Mana for its strong operational excellence, processes and procedures and a clear presence in Canberra.

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