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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . .

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India's Republic Day honours two important events in India's history. First, the Indian National Congress proclaimed the declaration of Indian independence on 26 January 1930. It then took another 17 years for India to achieve independence from the British raj, and it did so without a constitution of its own. Within two weeks a drafting committee had been tasked with writing a new Indian constitution. This document was eventually accepted and signed by the Indian Constituent Assembly on 24 January 1950, and two days later it came into effect.

For the past 41 years the India Australia Association of Canberra has worked to remove barriers and facilitate relationships between the Indian and Australian communities in the territory. It does this by creating inclusive events and offering support to Indian migrants who settle in the region and to those who require assistance with disability, aged care or other community services. I am personally grateful for all the association and its volunteers do to help develop Canberrans of Indian origin.

I felt honoured to be invited to attend the Republic Day celebration on 3 February by newly chosen association president Sandi Mitra. I enjoyed myself immensely. It is always good to be with the Indian community, as they are so full of life. I am never satisfied with just observing as an outsider at these kinds of events; instead, I want to experience the culture to the best of my ability. It is only when we immerse ourselves in other people's cultures that we truly begin to fully understand and appreciate them. To this end, it did not take much to convince me to get off my chair and on to the dance floor, joining others in enjoying a popular Indian song. As I embraced the music and danced to its alluring rhythms, my love for our Indian community increased, as did my desire to know more about them.

I encourage all in this Assembly to really get to know their fellow Canberrans from all of our multicultural communities, and not just as occasional visitors. We really need to know and understand migrant and refugee Australians who have brought with them from the lands of their birth much that they wish to share and much that will make this great nation even richer. I wish the India Australia Association of Canberra all the very best for a successful year. May 2018 see them achieve their objectives, including even greater service to the entire ACT community.

Australian public service—impact of relocations

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (5.21): I am angry and beyond disappointed that I have to yet again rise to condemn the federal government for its attacks on Canberra and Canberrans. In literally the last hour the Canberra Times has announced that the Australian Bureau of Statistics will lose yet more jobs—100 jobs, with 50 of these in the ACT. The ABS is located in Belconnen town centre. What this means is that most of these jobs will be lost from Belconnen. This not just affects the workers in the ABS and their families but also has flow-on effects for the Belconnen economy, its small businesses and the families of these small business owners.

It is disgraceful that the federal government continues to attack Belconnen workers. It is disgraceful that the federal government continues to attack Belconnen and Canberra. It is disgraceful that the federal government continues to use the ABS as an easy


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