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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 11 November 2021) . . Page.. 3407 ..


origin, religion or status as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT community generally;

(c) adequacy of the existing legal frameworks applying to vilification based on race, linguistic diversity, ethnic origin, religion or status as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT, including any gaps in their coverage, and evidence-based ways to reduce the incidence of racially based vilification;

(d) adequacy and accessibility of existing processes and practices of relevant organisations to address vilification based on race, linguistic diversity, ethnic origin, religion or status as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people;

(e) value of establishing, and possible content of, an anti-racism strategy for the ACT; and

(f) any other matter the Committee considers relevant; and

(4) requests the Committee to:

(a) encourage participation by affected individuals and groups by providing interpreter services, inviting confidential submissions, taking evidence in camera, holding documents in confidence where it considers it appropriate to do so, and otherwise making the hearings family-friendly and held virtually where appropriate;

(b) consider whether to publish a discussion paper by 31 March 2022 and whether to provide an interim report before 1 July 2022; and

(c) report back to the Assembly by 30 September 2022.

Australia is a dynamic and diverse multicultural society. Whilst our immigration history has not been without fault, we now have a non-discriminatory immigration system and welcome people of all cultures and ethnicities. While there is a long way to go, we are working as hard as we can to address the systemic disadvantage faced also by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Being the daughter of an Italian migrant, I am part of Australia’s multicultural story. Canberra has benefited immensely from its diversity. At the 2016 census, the Canberra community included people from over 170 countries or regions other than Australia. Being the national capital, we are an international city that celebrates different cultures. Our Multicultural Festival has grown to be a highlight of this city’s annual calendar and I hope we will see it again next year.

COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns have placed Canberrans under huge pressure—financial pressures; children learning from home, locked inside for days. This has unfortunately led to an apparent rise in the number of verbal attacks and threats of violence on people in the Canberra community on the basis of their ethnic origin or cultural origin, religion or language.

Let us be clear: COVID-19 can affect anyone and is not transmitted in our community by persons of any specific race, ethnicity, religion or culture. Because I am the shadow minister for multicultural affairs but also because I am an MLA and a member of the Canberra community who cares about this issue, I have been


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