Page 1502 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2017

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interpretation, as was evident from the good natured discussions by our group as to whether a picture of a turtle was also represented.

It was also not lost on our group that one of our rare Aboriginal rock art sites is at a place named Yankee Hat. I know of at least one submission lobbying for a change of name for this very popular picnic spot. It was important to me to see art and nature whilst also understanding and seeing firsthand the fragility of both. Damage from the natural elements and our changing climate and human contact can cause the paint to crumble and potentially destroy this important example of our early Indigenous culture.

Our hike was led by Kevin McCue, a long-term volunteer with the National Parks Association. He was able to organise a small party of dedicated hikers to show us the area. Isobel Crawford, with her impeccable knowledge of native plants, proved to be a fantastic guide. Through her I learned about the native and introduced species and what has and is being done to maintain the native balance.

Dierk Von Behrens taught us so much about the flora, fauna and history of the area that we are privileged to leave our footprints on. He also was able to identify safe Canberra field mushrooms, which I had no hesitation in taking a bite of—of course, after Dirk’s first bite.

John Brickhill and Sonja Lenz were excellent walking companions and friendly lunch companions who also kept us on track in navigating the vast and diverse plains. I have to say particular thanks to Larry O’Loughlin from the Conservation Council for going the extra mile to pick up me and my staff up from the Legislative Assembly and drive us out to Namadgi and back, for providing an inexhaustible supply of puns and dad jokes, and for his unquenchable desire to weed out all the thistle he could see.

I previously had discussions with members of the National Parks Association and other environmental groups, but nothing quite compares to going bush and seeing up close the natural beauty of our great capital. A highlight, I have to say, is getting to meet the staff and rangers who do tireless work to keep our national parks beautiful. You only need to spend a few minutes listening to them to know that, for them, this is not a job; it is a true commitment.

This Saturday the Gudgenby art week kicks off, with numerous arts events, including getting tips from resident artist, Maria Boreham. I encourage all members to take a trip out to Namadgi, if not for art week, at least some time during the term, because it truly is a great example of our proud bush capital name.

Palm Sunday rally

Independent and Peaceful Australia Network rally

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (5.45): I wish to talk about two rallies that I attended and spoke at in April. The first was the Palm Sunday rally, which is an Australia-wide event. Approximately 2,500 Canberrans came in solidarity with other cities around the country. Dr Minns spoke there and said:

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