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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 March 2018) . . Page.. 730 ..


I look forward to the consultations that will be held in the run-up to the summit and I would encourage all culturally and linguistically diverse Canberrans to participate and, indeed, all MLAs to become involved in those consultations. The lead-up to Harmony Day gives us a great opportunity to promote and celebrate the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

In doing that, we all get out into the community. We talk to members of our diverse multicultural community. That is another way we engage, both in government in opposition, with our community. As the Chief Minister said earlier today, there are many ways of doing that, whether that is via street stalls, knocking on doors or going to community events and listening to people where they are.

MR STEEL: Minister, how can we all work to promote tolerance, inclusion—

Opposition members interjecting

MADAM SPEAKER: “A” for effort in seeking the call, Mrs Kikkert, but I ask Mr Steel, who was in my line of sight and was on his feet, to repeat the question.

MR STEEL: Minister, how can we all work to promote tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity in our community?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Steel for his supplementary question, and Mrs Kikkert for her good effort in trying to get one in. Harmony Day, as I have said, is an opportunity to promote and celebrate our diversity. As individuals, through our words and actions, we can ensure that our community is inclusive and that it opposes racism, prejudice, intolerance and the demonisation of culturally and linguistically diverse communities wherever we see those things.

As a government we are committed to providing opportunities for all Canberrans to celebrate their unique cultures through events such as Chinese New Year; Harmony Day, as I have mentioned; Ramadan; Diwali; Holi, which was celebrated this weekend; World Refugee Day; and, of course, the National Multicultural Festival. It is always rewarding to attend these events, seeing how communities pass on traditions, culture, language and knowledge to younger generations and indeed share these with the broader community. As a community we have a lot to learn from one another. This is one core message of “Everyone belongs”, the theme of Harmony Day.

This year, for the first time, we will also be celebrating Reconciliation Day on 28 May, marking the anniversary of the 1967 Australian referendum and the beginning of National Reconciliation Week. This is an important way of promoting tolerance, inclusion and unity with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Collectively our community celebrations and events help to promote the ethos of multiculturalism and social inclusion by highlighting messages of cohesion, interfaith collaboration, tolerance, respect, harmony and cultural awareness, and by collectively strengthening our resolve to oppose the things that divide us such as racism, prejudice and intolerance.


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