Page 425 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 17 February 2015
I would particularly like to acknowledge the people and groups who so generously hosted me over the weekend. I thank the Australia India Business Council, especially Deepak Raj Gupta, whose “India in the city” is an event that has grown from a two-hour event in 2007 and is now a full-day event. The event went well into the night and, despite the brief downpour, was jam-packed with young and old. Thank you for the opportunity to recognise the leaders in your community and to enjoy a seat watching the incredible performances.
Thank you also to Sam Wong AM, Chin Wong and Andrew Yan for their warm and generous welcome and for introducing me to the many stallholders that filled Petrie Plaza on Sunday to celebrate Chinese New Year. It was an honour to meet the members of the association and to learn about the many services they provide, particularly to older Chinese Australians. Their efforts are important to build community and social capital and also take real pressure off, for example, our health system through providing translation services. I was saddened to learn that this is just another organisation suffering under the weight of the Abbott government’s cruel cuts to community organisations. I really do wonder whether they have any clue about the enormous range of organisations, large and small, and individuals in our community that these cuts will have a real impact on.
It was also an honour to meet Robert Johnson, the founder of Australia-China Youth Cooperation, an organisation linking Chinese students in Canberra to the local community. Robert’s enthusiasm, commitment and organisation—learned through his years of service to the Australian community through the Australian Defence Force—were impressive. He mentioned to me that he fondly remembered the ACT Chief Minister from his time as the ACT minister for education, for presenting him with a year 10 scholarship. That recognition and assistance clearly had an impact on Robert that stays with him to this day and has helped to inspire and drive him to found and run an organisation doing good work in our community.
I would also like to thank the Bengali Cultural Association of Canberra on their first showcase at the Multicultural Festival. Thank you to Dr Debashis Raha, Ajit Banerjee, RJ Manish and the other participants I met on the day for their wonderful welcome and very enjoyable showcase “From the streets of Bengal”. To the band, the dancers and especially the children who produced such an incredible show, thank you for your welcome, for your humour and for sharing your culture with the community. Thank you also for the history lesson that the word “shampoo” is a derivative of the Bengali word “champou”, which now informs our own English vocabulary.
Thank you to everyone that I met for all your warm support and welcome, and thank you again to the ACT government and the minister for this wonderful festival.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (4.42): I rise today to speak about my recent duties in representing the Chief Minister at the launch of the book Klibur Domin: Sharing with Love by Mr Peter Newton at the Timor-Leste embassy in Deakin last Friday.