Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 11 November 2021) . . Page.. 3410 ..
I note that the inquiry will be able to explore other matters that the committee considers relevant. I ask the committee to conduct the inquiry in a way that allows the greatest community engagement possible. I have suggested that a discussion paper be prepared by 31 March 2022. I hope that such a paper would support people making a submission to frame their experiences and to prompt them to consider a wider range of issues. I have also encouraged the committee to provide an interim report. This could provide an opportunity to show the experiences of people who have experienced or observed racism and inform final recommendations. I have asked the inquiry to report back by 30 September 2022. This is a long reporting date. But I think the issues that will be disclosed require the committee to dedicate this substantial time to the inquiry, if possible.
I thank Labor and the Greens here for their engagement with me on this referral and for indicating their support for it. I have amended the motion on the notice paper to reflect some of the feedback received from Labor and the Greens. This will be an important inquiry. At this stage, there is no evidence base, other than the reports to me personally, and there are no pre-determined outcomes. I hope that this inquiry’s report, however, guides how this territory deals with and addresses racism in our community for decades to come.
Once again, I note the wonderful diversity we have in Canberra and the contribution of all our multicultural communities in our city, and also the very kind and good nature of the vast majority of Canberrans, many of whom go well out of their way to make others feel welcome. Even if you do not identify as being from a specific racial, linguistic, ethnic or religious community or identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, I would encourage you to participate in this important inquiry.
MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (6.07): The ACT Greens support this motion. I would like to sincerely thank Mrs Jones, as well as Minister Cheyne and all of her staff, for the collegial negotiations that brought tripartisan support for this motion.
Canberra’s diverse community is a testament to the thriving multiculturalism here. However, the pandemic saw further emergence of targeted racist threats and acts of micro-aggression towards culturally and linguistically diverse communities. These attacks are not acceptable. People who engage in this type of behaviour do not and cannot represent us. Right wing extremism is a threat not only to our national security but also to community cohesion.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, CALD communities, the migrant community and women, in particular, already face existing barriers such as discrimination, limited access to social networks and leadership opportunities, employment anxieties and inequality. The list is extensive. Interpersonal acts of racism not only cause great hurt and distress but exacerbate these markers of social exclusion.
While the ACT is a wonderfully inclusive and multicultural community, it is a sad reality that racial and religious vilification and hatred still exist. We as a community should not and do not accept intolerance. Many will not consider themselves racist,