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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 2 Hansard (20 March) . . Page.. 701..

Azerbaijani community

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (6.33): During the last sitting week I attended a gathering of members of the Azerbaijani community who were commemorating the brutal deaths of their country folk in the town of Khojaly in February 1992. I was deeply moved by their stories about the conflict that occurred in their region over a long period of time. The impact of this conflict on the lives of individuals is obviously still deeply felt. It has resonated into the lives and histories of people now spread around the world. I cannot even begin to make sense of the conflicts that have occurred in this region.

What I want to highlight tonight is the need for our community, especially those of us lucky enough to have been raised in peace, to support and offer protection and understanding to people who have experienced violence. We should be proud of the multicultural community we share. I believe its strength comes not only from sharing the celebration of our cultures, as we do at the Multicultural Festival here in Canberra, but from sharing and recognising the pain in our pasts. For people whose pain happened long ago and far away, it ensures that the stories of their culture, and often their personal history, are not lost. For those who have found safety here whilst friends and families still face conflict at home, our recognition is an act of solidarity. And we cannot overstate the importance of sharing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of our community. It is a small thing each of us can do to help overcome the historical denial of the pain caused by centuries of dispossession and violence.

In all instances, sharing and learning about each other's cultures and histories, both good and bad, are an ongoing act of committing to a safe and welcoming multicultural community. I want to thank the Azerbaijani community for sharing their story and allowing me to commemorate with them.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.36 pm until Tuesday, 8 April 2014, at 10 am.

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