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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 2006) . . Page.. 3048 ..

has a private compassion for the tribulations of the Muslim people. I would like to see him have the courage, as the opposition spokesperson on multicultural affairs, to stand up for our non-English-speaking brothers and sisters who have made Australia their home. The value of these people is their contribution to our land, not their ability to speak English. But I am not sure if the opposition learned anything from its own event.

The multicultural strategy to which Mr Pratt was referring focused on a wide range of issues affecting all members of the community, not just terrorism, and sought a contribution from all to solving the problems, not just the government imposing a solution. There are many issues currently facing our multicultural sector. Terrorism is just one of them. Is it not vital, in the era after 9/11, to address terrorism at a grassroots level, as suggested in the strategy?

I wholeheartedly agree with community leaders that, in order to get to the heart of terrorism and to understand its genesis and its projected outcomes, you need to understand where it begins. That can only be found in the underlying causes, such as homelessness, social isolation, unemployment and lack of education. As a government and as a community, addressing those issues is not stupid, as Mr Pratt suggests. In fact, the Australian government also agrees with this approach and is spending millions of dollars in researching these very issues. The approach in developing the strategy all along has been to ask for input from communities to ensure that they are part of the solution to any existing or anticipated challenges.

The Stanhope government is committed to the multicultural community. In December last year the Chief Minister opened the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre. We have the multicultural festival and 160,000 people came to it. Sixty thousand people came to the Fyshwick fruit market food and dance spectacular.

The multicultural strategy that was put out for discussion was in fact a product of the community itself. The multicultural community wrote those words, and Mr Pratt has described them as stupid. He would like to see those people who are weak on terrorism tarred and feathered and run out of town. He said that the thinking that they had articulated in that strategy was, to quote Mr Pratt, “crap”. That contrasts very heavily with the Mr Pratt that I saw last night.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, direct your comments through the chair.

MR HARGREAVES: I am, Mr Speaker. The comments that were made are in stark contrast to the Mr Pratt I saw last night. I would like to see the Mr Pratt of last night say to the community that he is sorry for what he said, as reported in the Canberra Times, or at least write to the Canberra Times and support the Muslim community and refute what the Canberra Times said that he said.

Aged care—Ainslie Village

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Disability and Community Services. There has been significant community interest in the government’s proposed reforms of the dining room at Ainslie Village. Minister, could you update the Assembly on how that reform is progressing?

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