Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 28 February 2001
Parliamentary Record 27
Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 28 February 2001 in the language and cultural support offered by the Cyprus Government, and whether that support be for a Greek teacher or assistance with teacher training has not yet been finalised. Our Territory party met with a number of key players in Cypriot affairs. Foreign Minister Cassoulides briefed us on the problems of occupation and where diplomatic moves were at in seeking a resolution of this 27-year old occupation of his country. Vassos Lyssarides, the Leader of the Social Democratic Movement, gave us an insight into Labour pohtics in his country. A fascinating time was spent with the Mayor of Nicosia, Lellos Demetriades, who has been there continuously for nearly 30 years. He says he is retiring soon; he has had enough. He talked about some of the unexpected and expected difficulties of governing a city that is divided by the Green Line. And one of the things that really captured my interest was when he was talking about the Nicosia sewerage project. The Nicosia sewerage system was identified as one of the challenges for the new Cypriot government in 1960. The sewerage system was old and urgently needed replacement. Such a sewerage system - apart from being a task for Treasury and engineers - would not normally require sensitive political and diplomatic negotiations. But the sewerage project came to an abrupt standstill in 1974. Nicosia was divided in two, and with two authorities who did not recognise the existence of each other. Lellos Demetriades told the story well. He was one of the two crucial figures involved in building trust between the Greek and Turkish populations so that the new sewerage system could continue to be built. It is quite a story, and it is one that has been published and told around the world. For the interest of the House, I table a cartoon from the Greek Cypriot weekly, Satiriki, which was published in 1978 and shows what a sense of humour they have. I seek leave to table it. Leave granted. Ms MARTIN: There are many issues that preoccupy a mayor, but the challenge facing Mayor Demetriades for the best part of 30 years was to get the sewerage system replaced while bringing together two very antagonistic sides. He had to push a project forward that was critical to the city while at the same time there were these antagonisms, quite understandably, from the Greek Cypriots in the Turkish-occupied half of the city. It really was a challenge, and there was pride from the mayor that this was achieved and they now have an operating sewerage system. Despite the continuing divisions in Nicosia, there was also the process of planning the city of Nicosia, while looking at the heritage buildings and how to protect them - but doing this across that divide. It has been a challenge and it is one that Lellos Demetriades has been personally involved in and takes a lot of pride in. I think he can retire from the job after 30 years with a great pride in what he has achieved. It is very typical of me. I have this fascination for infrastructure and sewerage. I think he was a bit amazed that an opposition leader from the Northern Territory was interested in his sewerage project. But speak to my constituents and they will tell you the same goes in Fannie Bay. My special thanks for our trip to Cyprus must go to Manolas Christofides, the Presidential Commissioner, who was so generous with his time. He met us at Lamaca Airport in the middle of the night and provided us with some of the most memorable experiences of our visit to his country: Visiting the Presidential Palace; meeting with President Clerides; being guided through both the Cyprus Archaeological Museum and the Byzantine Museum; and then, most memorably, going to the Monastery of Makheras in the mountainous region outside Nicosia. We arrived in the dark just before an all-night vigil was to start. The candles in the church were being lit and, when they were lit, they lit up the most glorious icons and paintings. We stayed for some of the singing and the prayers. We also met with the abbot and had mountain tea and biscuits with him. We then had a guided tour through their basement museum, a room that used to be a storage area. It has that feel of a storage area but has been transformed into a museum that captures some of the 800 years of their monastery and their involvement in the political struggles of Cyprus. The story and the items that we saw certainly made a strong impact on we three Territorians. I extend to Manolas my thanks for his hospitality and his generosity. But I cant let it go by without making mention of his collection of jokes. He is one of those men who could tell joke after joke. He would, I think, entertain many a dinner party. They were very, very funny. My thanks also to his security staff. And my final thanks go to Australias High Commissioner, Frank Ingruber, for his initial briefing when we arrived in Nicosia and the delightful lunch he hosted for us. I do hope that the High Commissioners Australia Day celebration, which was going to be attended by many significant people from the President down in Nicosia, was appropriately Aussie. That was one of his concerns, so I hope that the CD of didgeridoo music was appropriate to the occasion. 7555
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