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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (21 September) . . Page.. 3073..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

share of civilians. The exhibition is on until 24 September. If you are passing that way, have a look. In the meantime it is worth remembering that today is the International Day of Peace. Those things still happen, aspirational though they are.

Industrial relations

CroFest

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (4.45): Before I get to my main topic, have to respond to Mr Gentleman. He knew that I would have to respond to part of his speech. He was singing the praises of Greg Combet, the same Greg Combet who longs for the time when unions ran the country. He longs for a return to those days. Of course, if the federal Labor Party gets up in the next election, that is the way we will be headed. He also sang the praises of Scandinavia. I hope Mr Gentleman is not advocating that we adopt their taxation system, which sees people paying in the vicinity of 60 per cent as their top marginal rate.

Nonetheless, I want to say a few words tonight about CroFest, which I attended last Saturday night at the Canberra Deakin Sports and Social Club. It was a fantastic event and it was an honour to be invited. The event was staged by the Croatian Studies Foundation, supported by SBS Radio, and it showcased young singers. The event was filmed, and this will be the first ethnic community to have footage put on the web site of SBS Radio. People will be able to download some of the performances.

This was the second year of CroFest, which is driven by the Croatian Studies Foundation. It is the first time it has been held in Canberra. The festival has been held all around the country and the finals will be happening in Melbourne. I want to thank all the organisers. Emma Plascak, of the board of directors of the Croatian Studies Foundation, is a young Croatian Australian Canberran. She did a fantastic job of hosting the night and trying to keep all the rowdy Croatians in line when they were not listening to speeches. She did a fantastic job. Emma is a great example of some of the next generation of Croatian Australians who have inherited a love of their parents' homeland, as well as being very fiercely proud Australians. I believe she is just completing her law degree. She is an impressive young lady.

The theme of CroFest is "we are learning Croatian through song", which I believe is translated as "Ucimo Hrvatski sa muzikom". It certainly is topical at the moment because there has been a lot of discussion about people learning English.

The work of the Croatian Studies Foundation and of other organisations like it is important to ensure that the next generation, the children of immigrants who come here, learn the Croatian language. I think that the children of immigrants generally learn English quite well and become part of Australian culture and life, but in the case of people from non-English speaking backgrounds it is important to hold onto some of the traditions of your parents' homeland. It is particularly important to try and hold onto the language as much as possible. I think that always needs to be done in a balanced way—not in a way that separates various ethnic groups from the community, but in a way that celebrates where they have come from and celebrates the culture and the language whilst also embracing their new homeland, their new country and their new language.


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