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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 2 Hansard (18 March) . . Page.. 460..


the parliamentary triangle across Kings Avenue Bridge to the celebrations, music and food in Kings Park.

I thank the Bangladesh community for promoting International Mother Language Day and the right of all peoples to speak their own language. It is a right Bangalee martyrs died for. It is a right that, thanks to their example, others have fought for—the right to be recognised internationally. In 1999 the United Nations adopted International Mother Language Day.

I noted in my speech at the walk that where once there were hundreds of Indigenous languages spoken in Australia, now few remain in active daily use—the result of colonisation, dispossession and repression of Indigenous languages. It is only now in our later years that Australia as a nation has come to regret what it has lost. That is why I believe International Mother Language Day is so important in warning us against forced extinguishment of languages and culture.

Now we have started celebrating this day, and this is so magnificently right here in Canberra, I hope that with community support and goodwill it will continue to grow. Canberra is one of the most multicultural cities in Australia and the world. Around 170 languages are spoken in Canberra homes. The recent National Multicultural Festival in Canberra demonstrated our celebration of the cultures of the world that thrive here.

I believe multiculturalism is one of our country's greatest achievements. I am proud that the ACT government is committed to the promotion and learning of languages in Canberra and has cemented this through the ACT languages policy. In addition, the ACT Human Rights Act states that anyone belonging to an ethnic, religious or linguistic minority must not be denied the right, with other members of the minority, to use their language. It is a right that has been denied to Indigenous Australians and immigrant Australians in our past. Thankfully, we have learnt from that mistake. Learning language is about developing the intercultural skills and understanding necessary to respect difference and create connections with people. This is critical in our local multicultural setting, where over 40 per cent of Canberrans either have been born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas.

Again, congratulations to all those behind organising this celebration of International Mother Language Day, for their dedication and hard work, reminding us of the human right to speak our mother tongue.

Australian citizenship ceremony

Catholic Education Office

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (4.50): I had the pleasure this morning of attending a special Australian citizenship ceremony at Telopea Park School. I received the invitation from the ACT and region office of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and I met a number of senior officials from the department—Mr Adrian Kelso, Mr Nick Evans, Ms Frances Finney. I would like to compliment them and other colleagues of theirs who were involved in the presentation of this


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