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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (14 March) . . Page.. 518..


MR PRATT (continuing):

We have seen this minister downgrade the importance of the services—

Mr Corbell: It is not supported by the facts. You acknowledged it last week.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Corbell, please!

MR PRATT: We have seen the minister downgrade the advice. We have seen the minister kick Pat Barling in the guts. Pat Barling has said that the emergency services have been kicked in the guts. I am talking about the president of the volunteer bushfire association. We have seen this minister kick Val Jeffery in the guts. We have seen the minister kick Val Jeffery in the guts because Val Jeffery had the terrible habit of suggesting to the minister that a man who had been around here for 30 years and knows the bushfire conditions of the southern tablelands might tell you how best to restructure to have a more efficient and responsive organisation. You did not listen to him. That is why the volunteers are in an uproar. You have never consulted with them. David Prince has voted with his feet. The professional officers do not support these restructures. This is a failure.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Multiculturalism

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (11.59): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) unanimously endorses the use of the word "multicultural"in our community;

(2) admonishes any move by governments, at any level, to move away from supporting a multicultural community; and

(3) recognises the important role the National Multicultural Festival plays in promoting and celebrating multiculturalism in the ACT.

I rise today to speak on a topic that I believe is of great importance: multiculturalism in our community. In spite of the federal government's abandonment of multiculturalism in favour of integration, it is important that the ACT continues to move in the direction of embracing cultural diversity in our community. In fact, I would say that it is vital that we continue to support multiculturalism because of the federal government's actions.

Cultural diversity is the very foundation of our way of life, and not something that should be easily dismissed. Why is it that the Howard government finds it necessary to impugn cultural diversity despite its obvious contribution to the success of our nation?

There are hundreds of culturally diverse communities who call Australia home and who have made our country what it is today: an open-minded and accepting society. The ACT is home to more than 200 wonderfully diverse communities; we all have the opportunity to learn about and enjoy unique cultures, traditions, events and


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