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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 February 2010) . . Page.. 544 ..

events that I went to over the weekend. Last Friday, I opened the South Asian film festival down at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre. It is running for a week. These are wonderful films from the South Asian region. It was good to meet members of the diplomatic corps from that area and watch a Nepalese film about the scenery, and to capture the locale and environment through these international films. That is something quite special. That was good and I encourage those that have an interest in South Asian film to mark this in your calendar.

Also on Saturday night I, too, was at the CAT awards. I think we must have all been there from the sound of it. I am not going to be running through the list but I do congratulate Oliver Baudert who got the senior award for contribution on and off stage.

On Sunday, 21 February I went to two events to celebrate Mother Language Day. UNESCO has determined that 21 February is Mother Language Day. The first event was a forum at the University of Canberra, and that was a gathering of families and educators. There were parents and children who have an interest in wanting to maintain language and also to have their children experience being bilingual—to experience a second language. It was clear from those there that there is a strong interest in maintaining language and having a bilingual parent within a family structure.

It was interesting to hear the stories of the children. One child went through high school and college here and is now at university in Japan. We heard about his experience of Japanese as his first language, coming through the Australian education system and then when he got English down pat he moved across to Japan to a Japanese university. It was a good day.

Then I shared the afternoon with the Bangladeshi community at the high commission’s Mother Language Day, which is a particularly important day for the Bangladeshi community. 1952 was a hallmark; they drew a line in the sand in respect of maintaining their Bengali language. They really then went on to maintain their independence 20-odd years later. So I think that Mother Language Day is an important day to remember. Language is, indeed, a key to maintaining heritage and culture. The maintenance of that across families and also across communities adds a richness and vibrancy to our community here in the ACT.

I am pleased that we have recognised language as an important part of our multicultural community. It is recognised in our multicultural strategy. We will be going out and talking to the broader community about how we bring that about across a whole-of-government approach. I think there was an apology from Sam Wong at the University of Canberra—

Mr Doszpot: I was actually there.

MS BURCH: I must have missed you, Mr Doszpot.

Mr Doszpot: I got there about 2.15.

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