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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1168..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

"It is important that policy makers establish long term emission reduction targets and the course for meeting those targets. This will allow businesses to invest in new technological solutions to minimise the cost of reducing emissions,"AGL's General Manager ... added.

Of course then AGL spruiks itself up. I read this because we are too often hearing the other view, including from our Chief Minister, and to express my disappointment that the ACT government quietly put off the introduction of energy efficiency measures in new housing and commercial buildings, which was supposed to come in on 1 May, to 1 July. Each time we do that, we make it a little bit harder for ourselves to ensure that we tackle the issue of climate change, something that otherwise our children and their children are going to be grappling with.

Multiculturalism—Sikh community

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (6.09): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak about Canberra's Sikh community. Last weekend the Sikh community put on a presentation at the Tuggeranong Community Centre to alert Canberra residents, and indeed all Australians, through the use of a new website, that the Sikh community is a valued part of our community; that they love being Australian, even though most were probably not born in Australia; and that they have suffered because people think someone wearing a turban might be related to or interested in terrorist activity.

The effect has been somewhat significant in America where, following September 11, a number of Sikh men wearing turbans were shot, I guess in a case of mistaken identity. But as the community was at pains to emphasise on the weekend, they are not involved; they are law-abiding citizens; they love their country, Australia; but they also love their Sikh heritage and their religion. Ms MacDonald, on behalf of the Chief Minister, opened an exhibition of some art. Senator Humphries also attended. I was lucky to attend.

One of the things that the Sikhs emphasised was that the Sikh community has a long relationship with Australia, particularly in military terms. They made the point that some 1,700 Sikh soldiers died on the Gallipoli peninsular, something sacred to all Australians, and indeed something very, very special to the Sikh community as well. It is interesting that, in just about every major conflict Australians have been involved in, they have served alongside soldiers of the Indian army, which includes many Sikh regiments.

The Sikhs served in the Boer War, where Australians served, in Gallipoli, in the desert and on the western front in World War I, and in Malaya in World War II. The Indian army also served in the Korean War, alongside the Australians. I would assume, although I have got no knowledge of which regiments, certain Sikh soldiers would have stood there.

They then went on to highlight what their religion was about and what they believe. They explained the use of the turban, why they carry a knife, why they have a comb, what their sacred texts are all about and how the 10 gurus over time have helped develop the code that they live by. It truly is a code of peace, although they are willing to go to any end to defend that peace. But it is also a code based very much on family and family values and respect for the family. They have established a network of young Sikh


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