Page 1014 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

Multicultural Festival, Canberra’s premier celebration of multiculturalism, the success that it is. It really highlights that we truly are a cohesive, strong society. With a greater understanding of ourselves and of each other, we are far more likely to continue to grow and prosper as a cohesive and harmonious society.

This is why the festival is a celebration. This is why it is important to both the ACT community and the ACT government. This flagship event, the National Multicultural Festival, on the surface is a huge celebration with attendances of over 100,000. I had the pleasure of being in Civic on Saturday afternoon and evening. It was a tremendous crowd from all cultures, of all ages, coming together with such a wonderful and positive feel. It is to be commended and those that did not attend this year should mark it in their diaries for next year.

I contend that not only has it grown in magnitude, and this year the festival spread from Garema Place to Glebe Park; it is also a vehicle of some magnitude for the promotion of harmony and goodwill amongst the people of the ACT. Who knows how big it will grow in the years ahead and how many more benefits the community will gain through the involvement of the National Multicultural Festival.

The festival shows that Canberrans really know how to celebrate and this augurs well as we approach the centenary of Canberra. As I have just described, the fundamental steps and building blocks are well and truly in place for the continued success and growth of the Multicultural Festival. As an undisputed flagship event, it is wonderfully successful in demonstrating and celebrating the ACT model of multiculturalism and how we promote harmony and goodwill among all citizens in the ACT.

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (4.24): Madam Assistant Speaker, I would like to thank Ms Burch for this motion. This is a great opportunity to again congratulate and acknowledge the considerable efforts of the individuals, community groups and volunteers that combined forces to provide the ACT with an event to be proud of. The National Multicultural Festival has been a fixture in Canberra for some time now and the flow-on effects cannot be ignored. The positive impact that such an event has on the ACT community in general, the feeling of goodwill and harmony amongst the multicultural community, is indeed profound.

The debate also provides an opportunity to reflect on the two words “goodwill” and “harmony”. Goodwill can be defined as the friendly hope that something will succeed and harmony can be defined as compatibility in opinion and action. It does seem timely to reflect on what many in the community see as something that threatens the compatibility of opinions and actions—a massive contradiction. I refer to the decision in 2005 to install a life-size statute of Al Grassby at the foyer of the Theo Notaras Centre and the decision to retain the Al Grassby statue, despite what can be considered as a significant and constant criticism and backlash from many in the ACT community.

In a recent article in the Herald Sun, Paul Sheehan has reignited the debate on the suitability of commissioning the statue of Mr Grassby in the first place. In his article, based on the recent well-published television series Underbelly, Mr Sheehan wrote:

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .