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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2210 ..


Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (5.57): I have a few things I would like to share with the Assembly. In regard to the CEO sleep-out, I, too, was there. I ventured into the cold of the night with the other 110 community leaders and chief executive officers. I thank the organisers for a very good night. The CEOs were there; I think they were challenged, many for the first time, by confronting the issue of homelessness.

Whilst I give credit to those that were there, I also want to give credit to two individuals who came and shared their story of homelessness with those there. To young Grace and perhaps not so young Wayne, I offer my heartfelt appreciation that they were able to share their stories with the CEOs and other folk that were there. It did get chilly, and I must admit that the cool of that blustery Thursday night come 4 o’clock was something that I will probably remember for some time.

Refugee Week and World Refugee Day have come to an end. On Saturday I had the pleasure of going to Companion House and the world refugee football or soccer competition. We had our own footy fever play-out at the AIS oval. We had a number of teams from our local Canberra community—the multicultural community, a refugee community—and also, for the first time, some community groups from Goulburn. The grand final was played out between our local Karen community and also the Liberia community from Goulburn. The Liberia team took home the trophy. The organisers from Companion House offered to keep it and have it engraved, but that trophy was not leaving their hands for at least the first week. I imagine they shared that win with their church group on the following day.

Also on World Refugee Day, Oxfam managed to pull together “Refugee realities”, a camp down near Stage 88. I went down there at the weekend to have a look through that exhibition or camp. It was very challenging to walk through the different arrangements that they had—the camp going through a minefield and crossing borders. And there was a tent there with many refugee stories; it was quite challenging and confronting to read through some of their stories.

Oxfam considered it to be a success. Over 3,000 people went through in the last two weeks, so that is 3,000 more people in this community who are more aware and understanding of the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. Australia takes about 1.6 per cent of the world’s refugees; that is a small number when, as Ms Bresnan said, there are many millions who are displaced and have no place to call home. Given that the theme for this year was “home”, let me say, as the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and a member of the Canberra community, that it is good that we here in the ACT have a welcoming and warming community for refugees and asylum seekers.

On “Refugee realities”, I would like to thank Oxfam and the wonderful local sponsors and also the volunteers who put in time and effort in planning, erecting, managing and providing the escorts through that very live reality of a refugee.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.01 pm.


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