Page 1027 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 25 February 2009
One of the things I especially appreciate about the Multicultural Festival is the opportunity it gives to Canberra’s arts community. My feeling is that art is a crucial part of our community and yet is the part that is often sidelined or disregarded. Art is inspiring. It opens our minds, promotes creative thinking and is something that we probably need more than we realise. I had the pleasure during the Multicultural Festival of opening the Encuentro art exhibition. It was called Tierra Viva, which means changing world, and I think that is a particularly good message in the context of the festival. Encuentro is a not-for-profit group which started off as a Spanish cultural group and has now expanded to be a multicultural group in its own right. Its art and its work is a good example of how multiculturalism can work in this city.
I hope the government and the festival organisers will stay open to the prospect of the festival evolving and making sure that it accommodates new and changing arts and changing concepts of multiculturalism. I think it has over the years and I think that is one of the great things about it. Just to finish off, I very much enjoyed it. I think it is a significant part of our artistic life and I look forward to being there again next year.
MS BURCH (Brindabella) (5.06), in reply: I want to thank all the members who supported the motion to recognise the benefits of the National Multicultural Festival. On that I think we are all agreed. But I, too, would like to refer those opposite to the Hansard of 3 May 2005 in which Mr Stefaniak, a Liberal Party member at the time, spoke about Mr Grassby’s political career. He said that it spoke volumes for what a wonderful local member he was. Mr Pratt, a former Liberal member, went on to say:
We all know he had to work hard to put—
behind him, but … he got on doing what he was good at—contributing to Australian multiculturalism.
Mr Hanson: You think the statue was a good idea, Joy? You are going to say that, are you?
MS BURCH: I am quoting Mr Pratt—
Mr Hanson: No, I am asking.
MS BURCH: and Mr Stefaniak. But Mr Smyth, who is an existing member, the then Leader of the Opposition, went on to say:
All Australians have probably heard of Al … No matter what you thought of his politics, I think it is the way Al approached life that endeared him most to Australians. He was not a man who stepped back from life; he was a man who embraced life and then just took it forward.
MS BURCH: May I have some silence to finish speaking?