Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 25 August 2005) . . Page.. 3267 ..
a person sitting on the other side of the house who, when it suits, espouses human rights, antidiscrimination and inclusiveness.
I am sure that members would agree with me that this insulting outburst by the minister for indigenous affairs did nothing to embrace people from other backgrounds and cultures. I am certainly pleased that Ms Porter has bought this matter to the attention to the Assembly. I sincerely hope that others who come from a different country and who have a different background and speak with an accent do not have to endure the same vilification I have had to endure.
I have been accused in this place of compounding the angst of a member of our Aboriginal community because I am a migrant, I am a member of an ethnic community, I am somebody who speaks with a foreign accent and, the fourth point that was made here, I am somebody who holds and travels on a foreign passport. This is interesting. I agree with your ruling: the first three are facts, absolutely, but the last point is incorrect. If the Chief Minister and minister for indigenous affairs knew anything, he would obviously know that I would not be standing here if I did not have an Australian passport.
The pity of all of this was that it was not said in a matter of fact way, but was said in such a way as not to show tolerance or respect. How is that, coming from a minister who espouses multiculturalism? It is quite sad. Again, I am certainly pleased that Ms Porter has brought the matters to the attention of the Assembly. I also want to say that tolerance and respect for one another must be our continued focus and, as elected members, the responsibility must be on our shoulders to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in this area.
It is rather unfortunate that those things were said. I hope that the Chief Minister and minister for indigenous affairs will listen to the speeches this afternoon and reconsider his position and the things that he said, because he really is not attracting to politics people who come from different countries, who speak with an accent and who migrate to this country. What he forgets, as members might realise, is that I chose this country to be my home. I am very proud to be an Australian. I am very proud to hold an Australian passport. I am proud to be able to maintain tolerance and respect for all of you.
I could say that the Chief Minister speaks with a funny accent. Let’s just do away with that childish behaviour from here on in. I do not expect an apology from the Chief Minister because I doubt that I will get one. I just want the Chief Minister to know that I forgive him. I will look him in the face right now and say that I forgive him for those comments. But let’s please make sure that the tenets of Ms Porter’s motion are upheld to the utmost in this place, and let it start with the Chief Minister.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (4.20): I believe that humanity has evolved with an instinct for tolerance and a native curiosity about diversity. I also believe that this is an instinct that can be blunted by emotions such as fear and uncertainty.
War is the greatest generator of fear and uncertainty known to mankind and war does dreadful things to our instinct for tolerance. It persuades us to think that someone wearing a different coloured uniform to our own is different, inherently different from