Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2009-2010; Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2009-2010
That is good; my wife is from WA, so I do have an affinity with people who come from that great state. I must say that at half-time I was rather thrilled that some primary schools in my electorate who had participated in an Auskick clinic prior to the game ran out and had a game. They were Plumpton Public School, Shelley Public School, Blacktown West Public School, Hassall Grove Public School, Blacktown South Public School, Tyndale Christian School, Walters Road Public School, Crawford Public School and Mountain View Adventist College. I am very impressed with the way the AFL are supporting their code by encouraging kids at school. This is inevitably going to pay dividends.
Another innovative idea from the AFL was to have a citizenship ceremony at half-time, and some were done prior to the game by the mayor. The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship had been invited and, while he was not able to participate, I am happy to say that he asked me to represent him and so I broke my duck and performed my first citizenship ceremony. In all, 30 people from 20 different countries became citizens. They came from countries including Turkey, Brazil, India, Syria, Sierra Leone, Fiji, China, Slovakia and Lebanon. Amongst them was Syrian-born Guss Kewan, a biomedical engineer who arrived with his architect wife and two young children in 2007.
I want to express my sincere thanks to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for their organisation of, and in particular for mothering me through, the ceremony. It is a little daunting to do it in front of 10,000 people, not all of whom are taking as keen an interest in the ceremony as they might. But again, I just want to say I thought it was a great initiative by the AFL. What a wonderful thing to become an Australian citizen in front of a crowd of 10,000 people. Those people were part of history on that day and I am sure they will treasure the memory of that ceremony for a very long time.
There is another matter that I wish to raise, and that is the rebuilding of the Serbian Orthodox Church at Rooty Hill. It has been rebuilt, and they wanted to get frescoes painted on the church. For a long time they were experiencing a lot of problems in trying to—