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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (14 March) . . Page.. 521..


MS MacDONALD (continuing):

people at Show Us Your Roots; 1,200 people at the Bollywood spectacular; 1,200 people to see comedian Danny Bhoy; 650 people at the Polish choir; 700 people at the Mongolian spectacular, The Wind from the Grasslands, which was a true spectacular, as anybody who went to the multicultural festival ball will know from the small taste we got there; and 600 people at the ACTTAB International Showcase. These figures are proof of two things: first, that Canberrans are passionate about enjoying our city's rich diversity; and, second, that multiculturalism is alive and well in the ACT.

I believe that, despite the federal government's move away from multiculturalism, our city and our country will continue to embrace the many cultures that make Australia what it is. From a personal point of view, I would like to mention that my grandparents and my mother escaped Nazi Germany and found refuge in this country because of that embrace.

I also want to mention that on Monday I represented the Chief Minister at the Commonwealth Day celebration that was held at the Centre for Christianity and Culture. It was a multifaith celebration. There were representatives from the Muslim community, the Christian community—many of the different Christian communities—and the Jewish community. The Baha'i were there; the Hindus were there. It is important to note that this year's theme for Commonwealth Day is "Respecting difference and promoting understanding". All members would have received the Commonwealth Day message, but I want to highlight a couple of bits which relate well to this motion. In the message, Her Majesty says:

In today's difficult and sometimes divided world, I believe that it is more important than ever to keep trying to respect and understand each other better. Each and every one of us has hopes, needs, and priorities. Each of us is an individual, with ties of emotion and bonds of obligation—to culture, religion, community, country and beyond. In short, each of us is special.

The more we see others in this way, the more we can understand them and their points of view. In what we think and say and do, let us as individuals actively seek out the views of others; let us make the best use of what our beliefs and history teach us; let us have open minds and hearts; and let us, like the Commonwealth, find our diversity a cause for celebration and a source of strength and unity.

That is what multiculturalism is about. It is about finding a cause for celebration; it is a cause for celebration. We should be encouraged to be proud of the many cultures that make up our country, not be fed propaganda that these differing backgrounds influence people's allegiance and loyalties to Australia. Cultural diversity is the very foundation of our way of life. As a community we should continue to support multiculturalism and endorse the use of the word "multicultural"unashamedly. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (12.11): I move the amendment circulated in my name:

Omit paragraphs (1) and (2), substitute:


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