Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 9 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 3864..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
languages in this town. But we also need to understand that nothing in this world is free, and we need to make sure that these people have the resources to be able to put these languages of the kitchen into the kitchens through the kids.
If we are not careful with the distribution of resources to the Ethnic Schools Association and such, what will happen is that we will shrink the resources going to the schools. It concerns me greatly that we might be facing that situation. I put the flag of caution up right now. We have to talk about this, because we need to be very careful that we do not just think that the teaching of languages of the kitchen to children is a hobby. It is not a hobby; it is education. It is immersion in culture.
If we are to be the best multicultural city in the country, and maybe the world, we need to talk about cultural appreciation. The best way of doing that is through the language of the kitchen and to have mums and dads talking to their kids in their mother tongues. Mr Speaker, I congratulate Ms Porter for bringing the motion forward, and I ask everybody to support it.
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (12.18), in reply: I thank members for their contributions to the debate, but I am particularly sorry that Mr Doszpot seeks to politicise the question and undermine the intent of the motion, which is a genuine conversation that members on this side of the chamber are having. It should not be a political football that Mr Doszpot can kick around.
He did point out that we are a great multicultural city and are fortunate to have so many people from so many nations with so many tongues from all around the world here with us. I thought that, at that point, Mr Doszpot was going to continue in this positive vain. Unfortunately, he could not resist the temptation to slip into the old rhetoric of complaining about Al Grassby's statue and other works of art that adorn our city. Of course, many of the cities and towns where our multicultural population lived in and worked in prior to coming to Australia are adorned with such statues. Australians travel many thousands of miles to go to admire this art, particularly in Europe. No-one should decry a government for investing in art in all its forms.
So much for Mr Doszpot's four minutes—only four minutes, I note. What happened? Did he run out of steam? Was all his steam used up in the previous motion? Mr Doszpot gave us four minutes of what? No concrete policy suggestions and no useful contribution to the debate. What about congratulating our current bilingual education providers?
I would like to thank Ms Hunter for her support of the motion and her exploration of the issues involved. I would also like to thank my colleague Mr John Hargreaves for his exploration of the topic. I am sure members would join with me in thanking the minister for his commitment to supporting language education. As the minister says, we are ideally situated in this part of the world and we have strong relationships with our Asian neighbours. Of course, the world is becoming smaller every day in terms of communication, and I believe that all language education—European or Asian—is important and merited.
As I said before, I have a grandson in a French immersion school in Brisbane, and my daughter-in-law is a German teacher also in Brisbane. As I said before, I believe we