Page 668 - Week 02 - Thursday, 20 February 2020

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through—journey is not the right word, but it has been a journey of sorts and we have maintained regular contact.

I was the very first politician that Julie-Ann ever spoke to—and I think had ever spoken to; certainly, the first one after Dave’s death. Since then she has met and argued the case with state and territory and federal politicians over and over again. I have to say, Madam Speaker, that she really is the most determined person I have ever met. You would be hard pressed not to have seen her in some piece of media over the last year. Indeed, the Daily Telegraph has taken up her plight with the “Save our heroes” campaign.

She has had an audience with the Prime Minister—more than most people could say they have had, probably having only ever seen him on TV. Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced an ongoing commission into veteran suicide starting immediately. When this first came out, it sounded like a very good idea and that it would have extraordinary powers. It certainly seemed to be the culmination of an incredible amount of campaigning by Julie-Ann. On that note, I will say that she has a petition that has 287,000 signatories to it. That shows how widely resonant that is through this community.

It has emerged that there seems to be very little detail available about what this ongoing commission will look like. For that reason Julie-Ann is still calling for a royal commission. I absolutely support her endeavours in that area. Without these answers, how can we move forward and better support our veterans? She has done an incredible job in continuing to campaign and continuing to try to get answers from the Prime Minister about exactly what this will look like. I think I can speak for many of us when I say that we are right there, beside her.

This week is particularly noteworthy because just a few days ago it would have been Dave’s 40th birthday. Many of us are gathering at the Old Canberra Inn on Saturday night to have a birthday party for Dave. He was an absolute larrikin, by all accounts, and loved to party, loved to drink and loved to laugh. I think that is what the night will be about. In addition to remembering Dave, it will also be a chance to raise money for the charities that he held very dear: Menslink and Camp Quality. I wanted to give the Assembly an update on Dave’s story, because it is not over.

Multicultural affairs—mother languages

MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (5.31): I rise to recognise the significance of 21 February as Language Movement Day, a day which is also known as International Mother Language Day around the world. Language forms an integral part of an individual’s identity. Not only does language let us connect with each other but it allows us to connect with our culture and our heritage.

Ahead of this week’s Multicultural Festival, it is important to recognise the value of preserving the languages used by people around the world. Canberra has a diverse population, and the Multicultural Festival is a magnificent display of all the different cultures that make up our community. As joyous as the celebration is, we should not

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