I rise to draw the House’s attention to the upcoming 98th birthday of Canberra on 12 March. On that day 98 years ago the foundation stones were formally laid to proclaim the site of a new national capital city for our newly federated nation. On that day, Prime Minister Andrew Fisher said:
Here on this spot, in the near future, and, I hope the distant future too, the best thoughts of Australia will be given expression to … I hope this City will be the seat of learning as well as of politics, and it will be also the home of art.
This city, Canberra, will turn 100 years in 2013. Then we will celebrate a century of being home to this nation’s parliament, government and capital. It is here in Canberra that the threads that bind this nation are brought together, and we should be proud of our national capital’s history and what it represents for this country.
The plans to celebrate our centenary are well underway. The legendary Robyn Archer has been appointed to lead the planning for the centenary, and she has come up with an exciting and innovative program. In the lead-up to the centenary, the planning team has introduced the Canberra Diaspora website, where people who have lived, visited, worked, lectured or studied here and have now dispersed throughout the world tell their stories about Canberra. I encourage any former Canberrans to take part and all Canberrans to take a look.
I would like to wish Canberra a happy 98th birthday, and look forward to working with members to make sure this city has a centenary celebration worthy of its national and community role.