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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . .

Page.. 3416..

In closing I want to again thank the volunteers and leaders in our community who are in the audience. I thank Mrs Jones for bringing this forward. I look forward to the multicultural, One Canberra Interfaith Symposium that will be held here next Thursday, where we as a community will make a very clear and public statement of our inclusive approach to all in our society to be treated with respect and dignity—each of whom has the right to be a full citizen of our city—and of our collective role and responsibility in making sure that that happens for each and every person that calls Canberra home. I think that is an endorsement by this Assembly, from all sides, to say that we are one Canberra regardless of where you come from. I thank all those that have made contributions to this debate today.


MADAM SPEAKER: Members, before we proceed could I formally acknowledge the presence in the gallery of Ms Diana Abdel-Rahman, the chair of the Canberra multicultural forum, her deputy chair, Mr Juan de la Torre, and Mr Sam Wong, the former chair of the Canberra multicultural forum.

Multicultural communities

Debate resumed.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.33): Madam Speaker, I echo your sentiment and welcome esteemed members of our multicultural community here to the Assembly. It is great to see you all here today. I would also like to thank Mrs Jones for bringing this motion forward to the Assembly today. The reality for Mrs Jones is that she not only believes this intellectually but she lives it as well, as someone who has multicultural heritage, both Italian and Scottish, which is quite an eclectic mix, one would have to say.

There is no doubt that many of us in this place feel connected to Canberra's multicultural community because we do originate from a great variety of different countries and cultures throughout the world. Mr Smyth is noted for his Irish heritage, which probably partly explains his love of whiskey. Mr Doszpot is a Hungarian refugee. You, Madam Speaker, are of Italian descent, and I am a former Pom. You can say that when it is about your own culture, can't you? My wife is a Kiwi. I know there are many others that have that multicultural heritage that brings them to this place in Canberra. The statistics that we see here today show what a diverse and multicultural place Canberra is.

As Mrs Jones pointed out, that is enriched by the fact that we have so many embassies here. I know that all of us participate in many multicultural activities, many of which are put on by the embassies. We probably do not appreciate enough in Canberra just how lucky we are to have those embassies on our doorstep so that we can participate in so many cultural events, enjoy the festivities and the variety of clothing and costumes from all over the world—and, of course, the food, which I think we all enjoy.

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