Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1285 ..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
Ms Tucker commented that there are people outside, and perhaps still inside, this country who have better claims for being allowed to stay: if they are sent back home their fate will be uncertain, which is not the case with these East Timorese.
The debate raises an interesting question about the future of East Timor. I was looking at some of the media comments that came out in May last year when East Timor became independent. The Canberra Times said, "East Timor faces hard times after euphoria"; the Age said, "Who will clean up after the party?"; The Australian said, "Timor's tryst with destiny: a brave new beginning."
Freedom is fine, but you can't eat it and you need other things to support it. Therefore, in enjoying the advantages that freedom brings, we have to be aware that support is needed in the future. My suggestion is that support needs to be given, not only by other countries but also by citizens of the country concerned who have come out here or to other countries for various reasons. They should give serious consideration to what they can do to assist the brave new world that has been created-in this case, in East Timor.
I will conclude by reading a small piece from Spectrum in relation to this third part of Mrs Cross's first motion, the contribution of the East Timorese community to the fabric of "multiculturalism". That is a word that I think is being used far too often; I prefer "integration"myself. I quote from Spectrum:
Multicultural. (...) In the future it's essential to distinguish between Australian policies of multiculturalism and descriptions of Australia as a "multicultural society". Australian policies of multiculturalism are mainly concerned with a principled non-discrimination in immigration policy, with helping immigrants find a place in Australian society and with ensuring that they and their descendants share the rights of other Australians to pursue their ways of life, within the law, as they wish (including maintaining aspects of their national, religious or ethnic heritage if that's what they want). If our political parties had come together in "selling"the decency of this policy in straightforward, pragmatic language, the talkback shows might have lost much of their poisonous sting. Unfortunately, use of the adjective "multicultural"has also at times suggested (although not deliberately) that multiculturalism is the defining feature of Australia and that the only groups who have a "culture"are ethnic groups.
We should always be ready to proclaim that Australians make up an inclusive society of multi-faith, multi-national, multi-ethnic and multi-racial origin. But this includes all those who see their background as pre-eminently Australian.
Before everybody jumps up and starts to criticise, that was written in Spectrum of November 19 last year by Donald Horne. I would commend those thoughts of Mr Horne to members and, although I am sure this motion will go through without dissent, I would just like to have the comments that I made recorded. It is a matter that we need to consider seriously in terms of national issues and the whole question of migration and the rules and regulations that this country has pertaining to them.
MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for the Arts and Heritage and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (6.07): I make a brief entry into this debate, based mainly on the