Page 765 - Week 02 - Thursday, 23 February 2012

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Stock Act—Stock (Levy) Determination 2012 (No 1)—Disallowable Instrument DI2012-13 (LR, 13 February 2012).

Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act—Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Regulation 2012—Subordinate Law SL2012-4 (LR, 6 February 2012).

Multicultural community

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Le Couteur): Mr Speaker has received letters from Ms Bresnan, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mrs Dunne, Mr Hanson, Mr Hargreaves, Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Porter, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Mrs Dunne be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The contribution made by the multicultural community in the ACT.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.06): We as a nation owe our heritage to our Indigenous people and our migrants. Some of us come from great ancestral lines and have a deep connection with the land. Others have arrived here by boat or ship. Each of us has come to love this country. This is a facet of our community of which I feel we should be immensely proud, and it is a matter that is a matter of some admiration of overseas countries that we have such ethnic, cultural and language diversity in our country that we do not experience a level of discord as a result of that. I think that this is something that we should be really proud of. I know that my family is intensely proud of our blended Italian and Irish roots.

We see that age-old story of immigrants, refugees and settlers coming to this country, making a proud name for themselves. This is achieved, often through the private sector but also through governments in the public space and in non-government organisations. We see a rich a tapestry of shared cultural and intercultural experiences that take place every year in Canberra. We have just experienced the Multicultural Festival, which is probably the greatest manifestation of that and which over the years has drawn hundreds of thousands of Canberrans onto the street for what is sometimes jokingly called the international festival for meat on a stick and foreign beer. But it is it is appreciated by all.

As a small anecdote, I attended a wedding on the afternoon of the Saturday of the Multicultural Festival and some of the young people there bemoaned the fact that their brother had chosen that day for the wedding and they missed out on the Multicultural Festival as a result. And there was a little family discord when they realised that they would miss out on the Multicultural Festival because their brother was getting married on that day.

There is the great spirit that we see at the Multicultural Festival. It has grown in success and popularity from the first days. I think the first Multicultural Festival was out here in the square and lasted for a day, and then they lasted for a long weekend. The Carnell and Humphries governments extended it out to 10 days of celebrations but that has been wound back in recent years, for good or ill.

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