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Thursday, 30 September 2010
Page: 333

Ms GRIERSON (1:57 PM) —I rise to add my thanks to Matilda House, a Ngambri elder, for the welcome to country extended to us on Tuesday as we celebrated the opening of this parliament. The setting outdoors was magnificent on that wonderful mosaic forecourt, designed by Michael Nelson Tjakamarra, on a clear, crisp Canberra day. It made it not just a generous welcome but an important gesture of inclusion in the work we do here in this place—the people’s parliament truly representing all the people of Australia. I also wish to publicly register my appreciation to the Awabakal and Worimi elders, past and present, of the Newcastle area, which I represent, and give them my commitment to continue to work with them to advance their ideals and aspirations.

Today the Speaker, the very honourable Harry Jenkins, read an acknowledgement to country, so long overdue but finally a part of the standing orders of this place. This process of inclusion will only be complete when, as Minister Macklin said, Indigenous Australians have a voice. I look forward to an opening of parliament where the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples presents to us their charter of priorities for us to act on and implement in this place, as the minister has said, ‘in a new partnership based on trust, goodwill and mutual respect’.