Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 4 December 2013
Parliamentary Record 9
Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 4 December 2013 3182 the day and we appreciate - and I appreciate - the work they do. My door is always open to the people of Katherine. I am happy to report my constituents are not shy in coming forward. I thank Katherine branch members, and particularly acknowledge the executive officers and management of the various industry associations associated with my portfolios: Katherine Sarneckis and Rob Fish of the NT Seafood Council, Luke Bowen, Tracey Hayes and David Warriner from the NTCA, Grant Fenton from the NT Farmers Association, Warren De With from AFANT and Drew Wagner from the Minerals Council of Australia Northern Territory. To all colleagues on the 5 th floor, I say thank you for your support. I mention the parliamentary staff here - the library, Hansard and everyone in the parliamentary precinct who bring our parliament together. I particularly thank my lovely wife, Jenny, for her ongoing support. I am away from home probably four or five nights every single week, and she manages to maintain the house, run all the household bills, look after the animals and make sure our kids and my new grandson are all cared for, in amongst all that. It is a real joint effort and very much appreciated. I love you, darling, and I hope you keep supporting me as I will continue to support you. To my parliamentary colleagues I mentioned on the 5 th floor, but all of my colleagues here in the House, even though we might disagree from time to time across the Chamber, that is the nature of democracy. I certainly do not hold any personal grudges towards members opposite and even though, as I say, we might disagree, it is healthy to have that robust debate and interaction here in this House. It certainly does go towards making up good government. To all and sundry, I wish a very merry Christmas, a happy New Year and a safe and prosperous holiday season and hope to see you all in 2014. Mr WOOD (Nelson): Madam Speaker, I would like to read a letter. It is an appropriate time to read it as these people live in Darwin and it is Christmas. This is an open letter to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. The I is not me. I will say who it is at the end: I have just returned to my office from the Wickham Point and Blaydin Point detention centres here in Darwin. Sadly, I have been involved with detention centres since the creation of the Woomera centre, followed by Baxter and now, over the last six years, with the various and expanding centres here in Darwin. I experienced once again today, the suffocating frustration of the unnecessary pain we inflict on one another. I celebrated a Holy Mass with a large number of Vietnamese families, made up of men, women, children and women waiting to give birth. The celebration was prayerful and wonderful, until the moment of parting. I was reminded of something a young man said to me during one of my visits to Woomera, all those years ago. I was saying something about freedom. He replied, Father, if freedom is all you have known, then you have never known freedom. I sensed the horrible truth of that statement again today. I was also conscious of that beautiful speech made when the UNHCR accepted a Nobel Prize in 1981. In part, it states: Throughout the history of mankind, people have been uprooted against their will. Time and again, lives and values built from generation to generation have been shattered without warning But throughout history, mankind has also reacted to such upheavals and brought succour to the uprooted. Be it through individual gestures or concerted action and solidarity, they have been offered help and shelter and a chance to become dignified and free citizens again. Through the ages, the giving of sanctuary has become one of the noblest traditions of human nature and communities, institutions, cities and nations have generously opened their doors to refugees I sit here at my desk with a heavy heart and a deep and abiding sadness that the leaders of the nation that my father, as an immigrant, taught me to love with a passion, have adopted such a brutal, uncompassionate and immoral stance towards refugees. I imagine he would be embarrassed and saddened by what has occurred. It occurred to me today that neither the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition know the story of any one of these people. Neither do the great Australian community.
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