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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 568 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

Since its inception under an act in 1991, SBS television has gained a steady increase in viewership and is now watched by almost 8 million viewers at least once a week-and most of those watch soccer, I understand, and Greek movies. Around 70 per cent of all households tune in to watch SBS at some time during the week. SBS's special mandate is to reflect the multicultural nature of the broad Australian community and to provide multilingual programs that inform, educate and entertain the whole of Australia.

Members interjecting-

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Mrs Cross has the floor, the airwaves, or whatever.

MRS CROSS: Mr Hargreaves, I am supporting your motion. It would be good if you just did what Mrs Dunne said you should do. Although it broadcasts in more than 60 languages, most programs are easily understood by all Australians because of subtitles in English. In this time of worldwide instability, SBS has given us all the chance to see events as they happen-

Members interjecting-

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, please!

MRS CROSS: The pot calling the kettle black. They will never learn. SBS has given us all the chance to see events as they happen and to judge for ourselves the opinions of overseas leaders as these events occur.

It is through such programming that SBS is able to increase the awareness of the contribution that is made by those diverse cultures from every corner of the globe. Today, SBS is highly respected for the quality of its creative output, its integrity and its contribution to our multicultural society. It celebrates diversity and promotes understanding and harmony.

In conclusion, I am supporting Mr Hargreaves' motion, in particular in regard to SBS, in relation to the triennial funding submission 2003-06. If we wish to remain serious about multiculturalism, we have to remain serious about the Special Broadcasting Service. It is rather disturbing, however, to see that, of the 17 members of this Assembly, only six are in the chamber. It will be interesting to see how many of those not here come out in the year and a half before the next election trying to win multicultural votes by saying that multiculturalism is important to them. It is very good to see Mr Pratt here.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Are you drawing attention to the state of the house?

MRS CROSS: I would expect Mr Pratt to be here.

Mr Pratt: My wife would expect me to be here.

MRS CROSS: Exactly. It is disappointing, however, to see how many members of the government are not here. Mr Hargreaves, it is disappointing to see that your front bench is not here to support your motion.

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