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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 February 2008) . . Page.. 140 ..

The difference between this multicultural summit and the last one is that the Stanhope Labor government put the agenda together and we drove the reforms that needed to happen in the multicultural community in Canberra. Now is the time to give the authority and powers and responsibilities back to the community. The communities will be running the summit and we will be contributing to it. It is a big step forward. One of the major focuses of this summit will be on community languages. What better year to do it in than the International Year of Languages? What better time to promote what we are talking about—dual cultures—mother languages? We need to celebrate mother languages, because we lose across the world about a thousand languages a year, and we lose a couple of hundred indigenous languages in Australia a year. We must stop this. We must put processes in place to prevent the loss of mother languages around the country and ensure that we can enhance the multicultural community we know and love in Canberra.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations) (11.38): I would like to firstly thank Ms Porter for putting this item on the Assembly’s agenda today. In responding to some of the comments that have already been made, I found very interesting a little interjection between Dr Foskey, as she walked back into the chamber, and Mrs Burke in relation to Minister Hargreaves’s announcement of a collaborative exercise with the Ethnic Schools Association and some of the national bodies later in this year when they said, “More talking.” I have to say, Mr Speaker, the contexts of so many debates in this place are that the government allegedly fails to consult and fails to work with communities. So for the cynical nature of that exchange—

Mr Hargreaves: It is deplorable.

MR BARR: It is deplorable. It is deplorable, Mr Deputy Speaker, but, nonetheless, we will move ahead with engagement with our—

Mrs Burke: What have you been doing for the last seven years?

Mr Hargreaves: Getting on with it, without you.

Dr Foskey: Don’t be silly, Mr Hargreaves.

Mr Hargreaves: That is one area that you don’t go into. Don’t go into that area.

MR BARR: We are looking forward, Mr Deputy Speaker, to bringing together all the key stakeholders. The opportunity arising out of the ministerial council—

Mr Hargreaves: It’s like religion: you don’t go there.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, if you have a point of order, put it through me. Do not fling it across the chamber.

Mr Hargreaves: It is not a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker, with respect. It was an interjection.

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