Page 237 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 16 February 2011

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This year we did a couple of things differently. We were pleased to have an Indigenous showcase as part of the festival. When it comes to rich cultures we need look no further than at our Indigenous Australians. I would like to thank the NAIDOC committee for being part of this year’s festival and I look forward to exploring how they can become a regular part of it.

I would like to offer my thanks to the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the staff for putting together the event in such a well-planned way. I know that with events like the festival we take the safety of all very seriously. I note that a women’s safety audit was undertaken prior to the festival and I am happy to report that overall the audit team was very pleased with safety and accessibility at the event site.

There were many highlights during the festival. I am sure that each and every one of us that were there would have their own special moment. I was pleased with the decision to offer the community stalls there on the Sunday and the fact that the crowd on Sunday was the best Sunday so far. I certainly look to build on that for next year. The Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets food and dance spectacular on Saturday no doubt remains the dominant event with close on 300 food and information stalls and 150 performance groups performing across six stages. I think over half of our diplomatic missions were represented and I thank them for their contributions.

When it comes down to it, people vote with their feet. We saw an outstanding turnout for this festival and we have received many positive comments on the success of the festival. For the community groups, this is all about our local multicultural community and how we, as one Canberra, come together and share, offer and celebrate all that we are. I look forward to the challenge of how we can do bigger and better for next year.

Finally, and on what is probably not such a positive note, whilst I was caught up in the enthusiasm and success of the Multicultural Festival and how we in Canberra embrace a positive view on multiculturalism, I opened the paper and turned on the local radio to hear that one of our local Liberal representatives had tabled the most racist and offensive petition that I had seen for some time. Further, it is disappointing that our local Liberal representatives have not thought to distance themselves from that. I encourage them to do so—to distance themselves from their federal counterpart and that racist petition—and to respond positively rather than negatively to the Islamic community’s disappointment in their actions and, can I say, anger at the Liberal Party’s apparent position on supporting such a racist petition.

Queensland flood relief appeal

Schools—Rosary primary school

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (6.18): On Thursday, 3 February I had the great pleasure of attending the Queensland flood relief appeal dinner at La Scala Italian restaurant, along with around 100 other people. Official guests included Mr Scott Buchholz, the federal member for Wright, international cricketers Sir Ian Botham and Stuart MacGill, and local golfer Brendan Jones.

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