01 December 2010 Bamaga, Qld - Leslie Footscray, 32 fishes for mackeral from the Seasia jetty near Bamaga, Cape York, QLD - Photo: Cameron Laird (Ph: +61 418 238811)
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01 December 2010 Bamaga, Qld - Parliamentary committee inquiry into the Wild Rivers legislation - Photo: Cameron Laird (Ph: +61 418 238811)
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30 November 2010 Weipa, Qld - Wild Rivers economic impact hearings - Photo: Cameron Laird (Ph: +61 418 238811)
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Video Update from Gungahlin Mobile Office

A video update from my Gungahlin mobile office last Saturday. The final two mobile offices for 2011 will be on Saturday 18 December:

  • 10-11am Dickson Woolies

  • 11:30-12:30 Garema Place

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AYAD Welcome Speech

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Life Matters - Disconnected

On ABC Radio National's Life Matters program, I spoke this morning with Richard Aedy about community life, neighbours and street parties, focusing on the findings of my book Disconnected. You can listen to the program here.
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What I'm Reading

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Taking on the World

Transcripts of our Wild Rivers hearings are now online. Here's the answer that struck me most.
Dr Andrew Leigh—Phyllis, part of our job is to think about sustainable economic development for the cape. When I am outside talking to people before the hearings or during the lunchbreak, a lot of people talk about the way in which the education system could be better, but no-one has talked about that in here. I am wondering if you could say something about the way in which the education system could work to get more sustainable economic development. I would be interested in other people’s views on that as well.

Miss Phyllis Yunkaporta—The education system, as I knew it before, has been of low standard. The curriculum in the past, as it is in all cape Aboriginal communities, has been of very low standard. By the time our children go out to mainstream schools they are hardly there—a child in grade 8 still has the understanding of a child in grade 1. Speaking for Aurukun, I was one of the persons who were invited to the States last October; I went to New York and Los Angeles visiting African-American schools. What we have brought back to Aurukun is a new kind of teaching method and we are having that implemented in the school. Of course it took time. At the beginning it pretty much had been, in my words, chaos before that. Since having this new program come in, if you come to the classrooms in Aurukun the kids are fully focused. This new method of teaching has got them going. The teacher is full-on with the tasks given and you cannot believe it when you enter those classrooms—it is as if some of those kids are play-acting. They are not; they are just full-on, focused. I guess in time we have to have expectations for our children to be educated in a way where they have to balance both worlds—the Western world and the traditional way. Of course we want them to hang onto the traditional way because that is where they are going to be identifying themselves for the future. And with them having to venture out into mainstream, we want them to compete. It is a competitive world out there. We want our black little kids to start taking on the world. That is the aim of all this.
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The Australian Government's MyHospitals website went live half an hour ago. Well worth a gander.
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Street Party - With a Template Invitation


Federal Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh called on Canberrans to get out and party this summer by having their neighbours around for a street party.

Over recent years Andrew Leigh and his wife Gweneth have hosted a street party for their neighbours on three occasions.

“Street parties are a great way for all the neighbours to get to know one another,” said Andrew Leigh.

“The festive season provides a perfect excuse to have the street around one weekend afternoon for drinks and a bit of fun.

“I’ll let you into a secret – it’s almost no work to organise. Pick a date, print a short invite and walk them around to the neighbours. And thanks to the magic acronym BYO all you have to do is provide the venue.

“To make it even easier I’ve put a template invitation on my website, www.andrewleigh.com.

“Knowing your neighbours makes life easier when you decide to replace the fence, host a noisy party, or hit a cricket ball into their yards. You’re also less likely to get burgled if your neighbours know you,” said Andrew Leigh.

Twenty-eight percent of Australian’s in a 2004 Hawker Britton poll answered that they have no social interactions with their neighbours. Over the past twenty years or so the average number of neighbours from whom Australian can ask favours from or neighbours they can simply drop in on have declined.  In the last two decades Australians have lost one to two close neighbours who will do them a favour and lost three close neighbours who they can drop in on.

“Street parties are a bit of fun and good way to build social capital in our suburbs,” concluded Andrew Leigh.

Gweneth and Andrew Leigh will be having their neighbours around for their street’s annual party in Hackett this Saturday afternoon.

And here's the template invitation:
With the holiday season upon us, our family is hosting the street end-of-year gathering. Please join us for neighbourly drinks and nibbles – to catch up with friends, meet new faces, and celebrate the festive season.



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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.