Page 3259 - Week 10 - Thursday, 25 August 2005

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Question resolved in the affirmative.


Mr Corbell presented the following paper:

Petition which does not conform with the standing orders—Alternative low-cost accommodation for students—Currong Apartments—Mrs Burke (144 citizens).

Community tolerance

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received letters from Ms Porter and Mr Pratt proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Ms Porter be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of maintaining tolerance and respect within the Canberra community, particularly in times of unease and confusion resulting from international terrorism.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (3.48): Today in this place we moved to adopt a code of practice. The preamble to this newly adopted code said:

Members of the Legislative Assembly acknowledge their diversity of background and personal beliefs and that of Australian society ...

Canberrans, like all Australians, are global citizens. We live in an interconnected world that is rich in diversity. Indeed, in Canberra we are fortunate to live in such a place, rich in diversity of different cultures. We must all remember, however, with the benefits of that diversity, be they economic, social or cultural, come responsibilities, in particular a responsibility to protect and celebrate that diversity so that all within our community can feel accepted.

Recently, Mr Hargreaves announced the enhancement of next year’s multicultural festival with the addition of a harmony parade. This government has also continued to support our multicultural community radio stations, and November will see the new multicultural centre open across the way in the North Building. The multicultural centre will house the peak multicultural organisations, such as the ACT Multicultural Council and the Migrant Resource Centre, as well as providing shared office space for 21 new and emergent communities. It will also offer a function room and meeting room facilities for use by the broader multicultural community in Canberra.

The Stanhope government, I am proud to say, is a government that at every opportunity celebrates and sustains diversity. We do this through our framework for a multicultural ACT, our strategic plan addressing racism and unfair discrimination, the Canberra social plan and the Human Rights Act. Despite the efforts of governments like ours, Mr Speaker, I am sad to say that we still live in a time when we are experiencing more and more international terrorism.

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