Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 4046 ..
To raise divisive issues is not effective. Governments of all persuasions should try to engender harmony within the community. Many in the community do not particularly like the Chief Minister slagging off the Prime Minister, playing politics or engaging in Howard bashing. That is not something a lot of people in the community appreciate. He might think he is being clever, but that is not something a lot of people in the multicultural community appreciate. In fact, it is counterproductive. The Prime Minister is the Prime Minister of Australia, and they are Australians as well as, in many instances, having come from overseas. That really is not appropriate. Raising divisive issues and trying to score cheap political points does not go down well in that community.
The communities are, of course, different. Within communities there are significant differences of opinion-between people who came from Vietnam in 1979-80 and people who have arrived more recently or between people who came out from Chile when Allende was the premier and those who came when Pinochet was the premier. I have had a fair bit to do with the Polish community, where the attitude of the older Poles who came out after the war and in the 1950s is significantly different from that of the younger, post-Solidarity generation of Poles.
There are huge differences within the community, which is why any politician needs to tread carefully. It is not appreciated if people get too much involved there, and it is not helpful either within the different communities or the wider multicultural community. Never having been a minister for multiculturalism-in recent times that has invariably been the role of whoever is Chief Minister-I have nevertheless had a lot to do with the communities as education minister, through the ethnic schools and through various other activities. Yes, I see Mr Hargreaves at a number of functions, and they are most enjoyable. He certainly has a great feel from them, and it is good to go to those functions with him.
Having gone to a lot of the ethnic school functions, I have noticed that the various communities seem to get on very well. But, if the government is not promoting and encouraging harmony and, for whatever reason, is trying to score cheap political points in some other area, which is not appreciated in the whole community, it is doing a disservice to the multicultural community. I would caution this government about that.
Mr Hargreaves: Give me an example, Bill.
MR STEFANIAK: I said earlier, Mr Hargreaves, that you are slagging off the Prime Minister at every possible opportunity. That is not appreciated by a hell of lot of people in the multicultural community.
Mr Stanhope: In the Liberal Party!
MR STEFANIAK: It has absolutely nothing to do with the Liberal Party; I am talking about the multicultural community. You misunderstand the community if you think that you are scoring points there. You are not. You might impress some of the people, but in general you absolutely unimpress a hell of a lot of other people.
This motion is timely. Mr Pratt raised the multicultural centre. We have been waiting for that for a while. Correct me if I am wrong, but this government was indicating that it was