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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2489 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

country. Their future is our future. Those are the sorts of things that we should be seen to be endorsing. I commend the motion to the Assembly and I look forward to receiving the support of all members.


(Leader of the Opposition) (3.57): The opposition supports this motion and commends its mover. I think it is entirely appropriate that the Speaker welcomed refugees to the ACT on behalf of the Legislative Assembly, because it is their assembly. As he said earlier, their future is our future. The ACT has been refugee friendly for a long time. We have only to look at the successive waves of refugee groups that have made their homes in the ACT to realise that our city, which is harmonious, has accepted them.

In the post-war period Doc Evatt's �10 tourists and large numbers of German, Italian, Greek, Irish and British refugees arrived in Australia. Refugees from that war-torn part of the world sought something better. What they found in the ACT and what they helped to build is testament to their revulsion of what happened in Europe in the period 1939 to 1945 and their determination to build an egalitarian society that would ensure that those things did not happen again.

I think we all benefited from that initial population surge that saw many European refugees coming to Australia. All members would be aware of the Jennings Germans. From 1949 onwards, German craftsmen built a lot of early Canberra. Their work, which is still standing today, is testament to their skills. An Australian firm sponsored and assisted in the passage of a group of German carpenters whose solid contribution to this city should be recognised. In those days the ACT would have been a friendly place in which to live, even though it might not have been easy for different ethnic groups to settle here.

Clubs that were established in Canberra city in those days-for example, the German club-are still operating. We also have Greek, Italian, Irish, Polish and Hungarian clubs and, for the benefit of the Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Burns club-his favourite club and the site of many famous whisky tastings. Those clubs were not just tolerated; they were part of the fabric of the city; they were an exciting part of the city's nightlife and community life; and they were places where people would go for a meal.

People from some of the eastern European countries-Poles, Czechs and Hungarians-then started to come to Australia. Large numbers of them came to Canberra because they found in Canberra the freedoms that they had forgotten because of the persecution of, first, the Nazis and then the communist regime. As we moved into the 1970s Vietnamese people, or boat people, started coming to Australia. I still remember-and I am sure the Temporary Deputy Speaker remembers-the opening in Yarralumla of Dalat, the first Vietnamese restaurant.

In those days it was a fairly significant event. We actually noticed when people of another nationality, cuisine or culture opened a restaurant in Canberra. It was just fabulous. In the 1990s Ethiopian restaurants were established in Canberra. I do not want to talk only about cuisine; I want to highlight the fact that migrants bring with them the skills that they have learned either through education or through traditions

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