Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 August 2010) . . Page.. 3855 ..
It will also contribute positively to outcomes in other scholastic endeavours. I have spoken about my grandson. I have seen him blossom since he has been in the French immersion school in Brisbane, to the point where he is achieving in almost all of his scholastic endeavours as well as his sporting abilities. His studies in language have taken nothing from the time he spends doing other activities with the school.
I encourage the ACT Labor government to investigate the viability of further bilingual schools in the ACT. I ask members to support this motion, because I believe that this warrants our attention. I am very pleased to bring the motion before the Assembly today.
MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (11.44): I would like to speak to Ms Porter’s motion today to push for greater commitment to bilingual education in the ACT and to encourage further consideration of bilingual schools in the ACT.
Perhaps we should take a step back and consider what we are in the ACT. As a medium-sized city, we have impressive multicultural credentials, with almost a quarter of our population born overseas and over 15 per cent of the population whose mother tongue is not English. Just on that, Ms Porter has spoken at length about Mandarin. I am sure the Chinese community will be interested to hear, according to Ms Porter’s pronunciation, that our Chinese friends not only eat mandarine but also apparently speak mandarine. The correct pronunciation is “Mandarin”. Obviously, it is important, if we are to understand cultures, to have an understanding of the pronunciation as well.
Coupled with that, as the nation’s capital, we are the centre of diplomatic institutions in Australia. And as a city with equally strong international research and academic credentials, the ACT is considered to be a major hub of global knowledge flows for Australia. So why bring this motion up? In many ways, this motion should be a moot point. The fact that the government are bringing it up shows that this is a point of insecurity for them. It shows, in some way, that they have underdelivered and are seeking confirmation from the Assembly that they have not. As such, I would read Ms Porter’s motion with a question mark at the end of each sentence.
The Canberra Liberals’ position is consistent on this matter: more can be done. We firmly believe that, as a multicultural city, groups should be able to maintain and express their culture and language through educational programs. However, under the ACT Labor government the situation of inadequate support remains. There are many small community groups which consistently fail to receive grants funding, although their needs are great—including, in the case of some African and Pacific islands communities, much-needed youth programs.
Language programs are vitally important for helping multicultural groups maintain their cultural identity and heritage among younger members of the community. In 2008, the Canberra Liberals promised an additional $50,000 per year to double the funding for the ACT community languages program. Two years later, the Stanhope government could scrounge up a mere additional $25,000. The truth is that ACT Labor views sculptures as being more important than our community groups. Having