Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 February 2018) . . Page.. 499 ..
the whole community. As I am constantly reminded by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, reconciliation is everyone’s business. It is not the responsibility of Indigenous Australians to make good the wrongs of the past.
Building a better understanding of the role each of us can play in the journey of reconciliation and continuing that dialogue is important. Using this improved understanding, we can make changes in the way we think, talk and make practical changes in service delivery, such as removing the deficit language that too often attaches itself to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs; implementing co-design, by giving a voice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in decision-making, and by being transparent; resetting relationships; better understanding the need to implement culturally appropriate delivery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services; and building a shared understanding of our goal of strong families and strong communities, which is the fundamental underpinning of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement.
Multicultural affairs—mother languages
MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs. Today we celebrate International Mother Language Day, which began in Bangladesh and commemorates the central role language plays in cultural and personal identity. On 13 September 2017 the Assembly passed a mother languages motion which in part called for the establishment of collections and displays, sometimes called an Ekushey corner, at ACT libraries to promote and protect mother languages. Minister, why have you since stated in correspondence to the Coe office that the government does not consider it necessary to establish these collections and displays despite the Assembly’s resolution?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Kikkert for her question. In my correspondence, which I do not have with me, I explained that Libraries ACT undertakes a range of activities that already celebrate mother languages and other languages across the ACT and that that activity is being undertaken therefore in a different way.
MRS KIKKERT: Minister, will you now adhere to the Assembly’s motion to establish these Ekushey corners as a matter of priority and, if so, when will Canberrans see this promise honoured?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Again, I do not have the words of the actual motion with me. I suspect, though I cannot say for sure, that the motion suggested that the ACT government would consider this activity. As I said, Libraries ACT undertakes a lot of activities that relate to other languages and celebrate the importance of diversity of languages. I am not the minister responsible for Libraries ACT. I will follow up to see if there is any more that can be done in relation to this particular matter but, as I said in response to the first question, the activities envisaged for this particular activity are, in my understanding, being progressed.
MS LEE: Minister, how can Canberrans now trust you to protect their multicultural identity given your disregard for the will of the Assembly?