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Wednesday, 11 November 1998
Page: 180

Mrs CROSIO (7:33 PM) —I am glad the member for Hindmarsh came forward in the way she did, because I do not believe any attempt she has tried to make at cheap political point scoring could possibly take away the glory of what has occurred in this parliament today. In my 31 years in the ALP, and 27 of those active in all levels of government, I do not believe I have ever experienced, as I experienced today, hearing such brilliant speeches as I heard from the members for Gellibrand, Fowler, Lalor, Chisholm, Cowan, Charlton, Shortland, Sydney, Bass, Rankin and Griffith, as well as welcome back to the members for the Northern Territory and Paterson. No wonder the member for Hindmarsh thought she had to come in here and paraphrase some poor written letter from somebody in South Australia, a disgruntled member of the Labor Party.

Mrs Gallus interjecting

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The member for Hindmarsh will not interject while out of her chair.

Mrs CROSIO —I can tell the member for Hindmarsh that I can start relating some home truths on what happened in my electorate, which I gratefully appreciate for returning me as the member for Prospect. The Liberal candidate who ran against me was brought in from Cherrybrook, a long way from Fairfield and Prospect. I had to give her a map so she could find her way around. They could not find a local candidate to stand up against me.

So what happened? We had, during the term of the election, the first Assyrian born mayor just completing his term in Fairfield. He is the first Assyrian born mayor throughout Australia. This Liberal candidate turned up to a citizenship ceremony and said, `I am here representing the minister for immigration.' Councillor Khoshaba, being the courteous man he is, allowed her to speak. He did graciously say to her, `Please, if you do come again, we would like to be informed by the minister's office or at least by you that you will be here to do it.'

On 16 September, his last citizenship ceremony before the new mayor, Councillor Chris Bowen, was elected, this `lady' turned up at the council chambers demanding to speak. The mayor graciously said, `Excuse me, we have not heard from your minister nor have we heard from you that you are to represent him.' She then continued to parade in front of 168 candidates who were proudly taking out citizenship of this country and put on an act, demanding that the mayor let her speak. This is the Liberal candidate who ran in the seat of Prospect. She then started to hit the mayor with his speech; she whacked him physically with that speech. He pulled that speech away from her and put it on the ground. She climbed up on the mayor's podium and got under his legs to retrieve that speech. She was then asked to desist and leave the council chambers.

So do not come, as the member for Hindmarsh did, mealy-mouthed trying to have a go at what the Labor Party machine is not about. I am telling you that this was a candidate preselected on behalf of the Liberal Party to run for this high federal office, and these are the antics that we have to put up with in electorates such as mine. I want to congratulate that mayor, Councillor Khoshaba, for his previous 12 months of a job well done. I also want to commend and congratulate him on the way in which he handled that function on that particular evening. He is a gentleman, and he certainly proved himself in his 12 months of his term as mayor of our city. I know that he wrote to the minister, very upset. I understand the reply he has received from the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs upset him even more. Really this is not a person who normally complains. I am actually pleased I was not there that night, because I can assure you that the mayor would not have had to require assistance to remove my opposition candidate; I would have been removing her for him.

Nevertheless, today 13 brilliant speeches were made from this opposition. What the coalition were disturbed about and I believe what the coalition now are worried about is the depth of talent that we have now got on our benches. I believe we have witnessed today, as I said at the very beginning, some of the most brilliant speeches that I have heard in all of my years in politics. I commend and I congratulate those people. I commend and congratulate the electors who have elected people of that calibre to serve in this parliament. I know that each one of them, both individually and collectively, will do it well. They will not have to rely on paraphras ing some mealy-mouthed letter that the member for Hindmarsh got hold of that had been circulated probably by some candidate in the area who had been a bit upset about what is happening to the Labor Party in that state. I am not denying that what she was reading out was factual, but what I am saying is not to ever try to bring that sort of an example in here, because each one of us sitting on the opposition benches can give you example after example of some of the so-called opponents that we had to put up with in our years of political fray.

I believe what we should be about in this parliament is praising. Certainly as an opposition we are here to criticise, as the government is here to deliver. It is always much easier to deliver, and I suppose you could say it is much easier for us to criticise. But I believe that we should note that on a day like this, on Remembrance Day, 13 brilliant speeches were given by the people sitting on the opposition benches, people who are proudly members of the Labor Party. All of us should be up here now commending and congratulating them. That is what we should be about, saying to them, `What a job well done.' There should not be cheap political point scoring, as has just been rendered by the member for Hindmarsh. I do not believe she has brought credit to her government, nor do I believe she has brought credit to her constituency.

This was not what I originally intended to say. I can only say in closing that I thank my electors of Prospect for returning me to this parliament. (Time expired)