Page 5536 - Week 13 - Thursday, 17 November 2011

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MS BRESNAN: Minister, given that the reason for disbanding the council in 2006 was apparent internal conflicts, have you given weight to the fact that the multicultural landscape in Canberra has changed and that a ministerial advisory council on multicultural affairs may now be appropriate?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Bresnan for her question. There was some level of concern in 2006. It certainly predates my time in this place. We have a very strong and functioning Multicultural Community Forum. We have a ministerial advisory council from the Muslim community. We have very strong representation with a multicultural women’s advisory group as well. So there are multiple groups and registered associations that I have regular contact with.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that I hosted here in the Assembly a Diwali for the Indian community. It is something that I take very seriously—that is, how I communicate with groups. I do not necessarily think that all of that is achieved through an advisory council. Advisory councils no doubt have a role to play. I have a number of advisory councils, but first and foremost it is about making myself available, and my open door policy, to those community groups.

MR HARGREAVES: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: To the minister, has the Multicultural Advisory Council been successful in preventing the anti-Islamic sentiment, which has been so evident in New South Wales, emerging in the ACT?

MS BURCH: I do thank Mr Hargreaves for his question. The Muslim Advisory Council is a very significant council here in the ACT and works with government across all agencies of government to ensure that we here in the ACT remain a peaceful, calm, welcoming society. At one of my most recent meetings with the council there were also representatives from our Australian Federal Police that were talking with them about matters of law reform. It was a very good, open discussion and it was an absolute pleasure to see our Muslim brothers and sisters talking with the Federal Police on matters that serve us best and our community well.


MR SMYTH: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, on 1 June 2011 you had a meeting with the chair of the public accounts committee about the announcement of the proposed appointment of the new Auditor-General. Chief Minister, the submission to the privileges committee from the chair of the PAC said, “My memory is that Ms Gallagher also stated that Dr Cooper was the government’s nominee and that she”—Dr Cooper—“would be the new Auditor-General.” Chief Minister, did you say this to the chair of the public accounts committee?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, at my request when I heard that the chair was unhappy, or the committee was unhappy, with the media release going out I did request a meeting. My office called Ms Le Couteur’s office. I popped down to see her and certainly

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