Page 3411 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 20 September 2005

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As members will be aware, like so many of my fellow Australians, I was not born in this country. I arrived here in 1954, with my parents who sought for themselves and their children the promise of an opportunity which Australia had become renowned for. My presence in this place, and the achievements of so many of my fellow Australian migrants in the arenas of corporate, political and community life, are a testimonial to this country’s migration program over many years.

I am glad to say that this tradition continues for the society we shape today, and I am proud to be a member of a government that constantly seeks to encourage people from all around the world to settle in Canberra and works to give us all a better understanding and acceptance of diversity. This is reflected in its policy framework.

I was absolutely delighted and grateful for the opportunity to launch the Islamic film, One place, in cooperation with the Canberra Islamic Centre and enjoy the opportunity to see the life of three Islamic people profiled in this film, to learn more about the Islamic cultural heritage and, simultaneously, to reflect on the multicultural strength of our community. Films and events such as this one, hosted by the Islamic Centre, are examples of the way we develop a better understanding of the culture and customs of others. In this way we can better identify what are the similarities between us, rather than what are the differences. We must always remember there is more which unites us than divides us.

I encourage all in this place, at the first opportunity, to view this film, One place, and to visit the Canberra Islamic Centre in Tuggeranong to learn more about their rich culture.

2005 art exhibition

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.13): On Friday of last week, I attended the opening of the Artists Society of Canberra art exhibition 2005 at the Albert Hall. It raises a few issues that are of concern to the Assembly. Of course it was an enjoyable experience in itself. The very large Albert Hall, which I do think of as a community hall even though it does not belong to the Canberra community, was chock-a-block with works of art. Apparently that was only a proportion of the works that were submitted for the competition.

Everyone who submitted was a member of the Artists Society of Canberra and there were a number of genres available. One of the key things about this particular exhibition was that one of the categories was art related to the Molonglo River and its catchment. There were a number of paintings and works in other media that reflected that theme.

The Artists Society of Canberra has 340 members and is probably one of the oldest societies in Canberra. It was formed in 1927. It is certainly as old as old Parliament House. I do not think there are any of the original members still involved in it.

What it says about Canberra is: what a town it is for people not just consuming culture but also involving themselves in it. This is a community where people sing in choirs—we must have more choirs per head than any other place; people involved in repertory theatre; and people painting and drawing.

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