Page 4965 - Week 13 - Thursday, 2 November 2017

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One of the interesting things in social media in the last little while has been the #MeToo hashtag. I have seen a lot of it in my social media, such that I actually put it up and said, “I’m wondering is there anybody out there whom it does not apply to?” Only one of my friends replied that she felt it did not apply to her. I must admit I was a bit amazed by even one saying that. I would suggest that there is probably not one young woman who has not experienced some degree of sexual harassment, at the least unwanted attentions and catcalling.

Today I joined Ms Cheyne at a rally outside the Assembly. It was the dying with dignity rally. This was particularly poignant for me as I had just attended a funeral of someone who died in pain from cancer.

I conclude by reiterating that a fundamental pillar of the Greens is upholding grassroots democracy. There was Greens representation at all of these rallies. This is because it is central to our purpose. The right of assembly in a public place is a cornerstone of our liberty. The right to bear witness and bring pressure to bear on politicians and other parts of the public in support of a cause is an important and necessary function of society, and I am really pleased that in this society and in this place I am in a position to be part of it.

Greyhound racing industry

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (5.30): I wish to bring to the attention of the Assembly—and I am most pleased that Mr Ramsay is here in the chamber; it saves me making a video—the fact that the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club received a letter from Minister Gordon Ramsay at 5.47 last night. That letter was to inform the club of the bills to ban racing to be introduced today, as they have been. In response the chair, Alan Tutt, wrote a letter back to Mr Ramsay. I want to share some of that letter with the Assembly and put it on the record. He said:

When we met for the first … time on 23 December last year you shook my hand & promised to hear our concerns & establish a relationship based on honesty & communication. You recognised the previous few months of announcements on racing by Chief Minister Barr & former Minister Gentleman had completely omitted the participants & staff in the local industry.

As you were a lawyer and church leader before entering the Assembly, I took you at your word. I believed you would honour your promise & demonstrate the principles of natural justice & honesty associated with your past careers. How wrong I was.

Instead of another meeting, as you promised, your door has been shut.

You have not attempted to hear the voices of the people who will be deeply hurt by the ban. You have not met with the board, nor have you attempted to explain to the hard-working staff why they deserve to lose their jobs.

The Canberra community deserves strength and informed decision-making from their elected leaders. Unfortunately your role as Minister with responsibility for racing has been marked by cowardice, a hard heart & a closed mind.

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