Page 384 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 15 February 2005

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rigorous about the need to ensure fairness and justice in our systems, and most particularly in the operation of our courts. To suggest that I could possibly turn my back on advice that a process was not fair and might not produce justice is simply intolerable.

Mr Smyth: We did not ask you about that.

MR STANHOPE: To think that you as a party, the Liberal Party and opposition in this place, are prepared to stand here and say that you would turn your back on advice that a matter before the court might not be fair is simply staggering to me—that the shadow Attorney-General would stand here and say: “Well, I would have turned my back. I would have walked away. I wouldn’t have minded if a finding was made that justice was not done.”

National Multicultural Festival

MS PORTER: My question is to the minister for community services. Can the minister advise the Assembly of the significant growth and development of the National Multicultural Festival?

MR HARGREAVES: The 2005 National Multicultural Festival has been bigger and better than ever, with 13 days of music, dance, theatre, comedy, lectures and exhibitions. We have had nine international groups come to Canberra, including an American troupe for the first time. The festival has established itself as one of the leading multicultural festivals in Australia. As a result, we have been able to handpick some of the finest performers and artists locally and internationally.

It has been great to see so many Canberrans embracing our multicultural culture. In week one of the festival, it is estimated, 63,000 people participated in events—some of them, I am sure, unnamed legal practitioners in this town. This includes, of course, 45,000 people at the food and dance spectacular last weekend, 8,000 people at the Greek Glendi and Contact Canberra events, and 3,000 people at week one of the fringe festival.

The festival is a fantastic showcase of the finest multicultural acts from Australia and internationally. It has been great to see a doubling of the local acts this year, giving us a chance to show the true cultural diversity that we have in Canberra. It has also been fantastic to have Contact Canberra for the first time this year, with 80 community groups from across Canberra setting up stalls in the city centre.

Canberra is fortunate to have over 2,800 committed community organisations, associations and consumer advocacy groups. If you look around at the rich diversity of these community groups, you will find the very important contribution they make to the social and cultural fabric of Canberra.

In this city there are endless opportunities for participation, fun and friendship, opportunities that can only come from making a connection with others who have similar interests and hobbies. The government wholeheartedly supports such events because we can all benefit from the positive social atmosphere that will naturally blossom in our city from the effective promotions of these and other community-building activities.

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