Page 3943 - Week 12 - Thursday, 20 October 2005

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the six long years of the Liberal government. It was not delivered but this government is now delivering it. It will hold the government in good stead with the multicultural community.

The government has decided not to renew MACMA. We have decided on a far more focused and specific consultation regime. Mr Hargreaves will be happy and pleased to elaborate chapter and verse on the success of the new consultative arrangements that he has instituted as minister. They involve all of the communities. I think to date, Mr Hargreaves, to his great credit, has consulted separately with 40 or 50 communities. He is working his way through all 90 of the separate, different and diverse ethnic communities that are represented by representative organisations in the ACT.

It is a level of contact and consultation that has never before been seen. The multicultural communities are enormously happy with the new arrangements, with the minister and, indeed, with this government. I am proud of the work that we are doing with our diverse communities, particularly with the Muslim communities of Canberra.

Multicultural affairs

MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the minister for multicultural affairs, Mr Hargreaves. Minister, in light of the government’s decision not to renew the term of the ministerial advisory council on multicultural affairs, would you please advise the Assembly how the government will be working with the local multicultural community to advance multicultural affairs in Canberra?

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

Mr Pratt: What a farce!

MR HARGREAVES: And I thank Ms MacDonald for the question.

Mr Stanhope: And Mr Pratt.

MR HARGREAVES: And Mr Pratt. I notice that Mr Pratt paceth up and down.

Mr Stanhope: Fancy getting banned from the mosque!

MR HARGREAVES: Imagine getting banned from the mosque! When I went into the ministry, I spoke with the Chief Minister I sought his approval to engage with the multicultural community considerably more closely than we had been able to do in the past, given the horrendous workload the Chief Minister had encountered over a period of time and noting that I had not seen all that much output from the ministerial advisory council on multicultural affairs, which was supposed to advise the Chief Minister. So there was a coincidence of two things—the government’s commitment to consulting with people and making them feel included and not excluded as, in fact, those opposite have had them believe in the past. We decided that the best way to achieve that would be for me to present myself to as many of the communities as I could within the time of my tenure, at least, in office.

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