ACT Senator Gary Humphries is unhappy that the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, had not been invited to play a role in Tuesday’s ceremony to mark a century since the official naming of Canberra.
The event at the Foundation Stone on Federation Mall will include speeches by the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, Minister Simon Crean and ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, but there is no role for the Leader of the Federal Opposition.
Humphries says: “This event is the culmination of the Centenary of Canberra celebrations, with an appropriate role for Federal political leaders, but to not include the Federal Opposition is a snub.”
“The Centenary celebrations have enjoyed strong bipartisan support at both the Federal and Territory levels until now, so this development is deeply regrettable.
“Other national events of this kind traditionally enjoy a non-partisan flavour; events such as Anzac Day, Sorry Day and the welcoming of visiting heads of state to the capital.
“To shut out one side of politics on what should be an occasion of national celebration is a mistake.
“I understand that the ACT Labor Government has decided that it wants ‘to give reverence to the original 1913 ceremony, and as such there are only speaking roles for the contemporary equivalents of those officials who participated on 12 March 1913.’
“If that is the case, who was the ‘contemporary equivalent’ of Katy Gallagher in 1913?”