Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 February 2008) . . Page.. 135 ..
children and future generations in Canberra, doing about it? What are we as Australians as a whole doing about it? The answer is very little at all. We are spending some money, but I do not think it will be a good enough investment because it is not a big enough investment. There is much that can be done to improve the educational outcomes of our children by teaching them languages, and there are many ways of doing it. One hour a week for primary school children and 2½ hours a week for high school children is not enough.
The examples that I have seen in other countries show that much more effort must go into this. My experiences from visiting schools in Ireland, Turin and other places around the world, and from discussing these experiences with other people, show that we need to teach not just the language but other subjects in foreign languages. I had the privilege of visiting a school in Turin last year. They teach their students a vast number of languages. They do it not only by teaching languages other than Italian, but by running courses. They teach science in German, they teach maths in French. Get this: the Italian civics course is taught in English. So in addition to the learning of the language as a foreign language, they are actually learning the language organically, through other classes. That is what bilingual education could do. It does not have to be in a stream. It is unfortunate, when we have a system like the one we have, that the minister took the opportunity and threw it away.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.18): I feel very privileged that I am able to speak on two motions today that refer to the importance of languages in our communities and our culture. Of course, it is a very appropriate time to be talking about it in Canberra, because we are immersed this week in multiculturalism. I want to say that I am totally thankful for the government’s putting resources into the multicultural festival. I want to recognise Dominic Mico once again and Jorian Gardner for their work and all the other people who are nameless who create this atmosphere.
Mr Hargreaves: Nic Manikis.
DR FOSKEY: Pardon?
Mr Hargreaves: Nic Manikis.
DR FOSKEY: You may mention him, Mr Hargreaves.
Mr Hargreaves: Well, you should too.
DR FOSKEY: I am sorry, I cannot recognise everybody. If you want to raise this as an issue, of course I am thankful for Nic Manikis. He is doing it as part of his job, but for you to turn it into something of an issue is not really in the spirit of this conversation, Mr Hargreaves.
The multicultural festival brings together a lot of events, a lot of people, but, for Canberra, it is a festival, and we know that festivals are very much part of some cultures. Just anecdotally hearing people say, “Why can we not have more things like this?” indicates that there is a hunger and a thirst in Canberra for events like this.