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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 March 2015) . . Page.. 845 ..

Most of us would agree that a society is measured by the way it responds to those who are most in need. That is why we must continue to focus on addressing disadvantage through effective programs and support. It also means that individually and collectively we have a role in helping to make Canberra a more inclusive place through our attitudes as much as our actions. Through genuine conversations, partnerships and commitments with individuals, communities and business, this government, this ACT Labor government, is using the principles of social inclusion and equality to build relationships founded on mutual respect. With this respect, we are leading a collaborative approach to social inclusion through engaging with and developing inclusive communities.

We do not always know when something will go wrong in our lives. But we should know that there is a community we can ask for help. Canberrans are a generous lot and collectively our community is strong and resilient. Most people are willing to lend a hand when it is needed. So I believe that as a community we have a reasonable expectation that any of us can get support when it is needed. This government is in the business of ensuring that each person can truly be included in our great city.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.05): I would like to take this opportunity to speak in response to Dr Bourke’s motion on social inclusion. I will say at the outset that social inclusion is integral to an accessible, inclusive and functioning society. I welcome any new or continuing initiatives from the ACT government that will make Canberra a more socially inclusive community. I thank you, Dr Bourke, for bringing this motion today.

From what I have read, government policies on social inclusion appear to have originated in France in the 1970s. It was actually the term “social exclusion” that was first used in France. At the outset it was used to describe people who were excluded from the social insurance system. This included people living with a disability and the unemployed, who did not have insurance.

Subsequently, the term “social exclusion” was extended to describe disaffected youth and the isolated in French society. This came about as a result of social unrest in large public housing estates on the outskirts of several French cities. Following that, it was used to emphasise the marginalisation of the unemployed in French society.

Social inclusion then became a mainstream concern of the UK government. In 1997 the Blair government established a social exclusion unit that reported directly to cabinet. The role of this unit was to coordinate the UK government’s efforts at enhancing social inclusion in the UK. In 1997 UK Prime Minister Blair described social exclusion as a label for what can happen when individuals or areas suffer from a combination of linked problems, such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown.

In 2007 the Rudd government seized upon the UK example and established the position of Minister for Social Inclusion, which formed part of the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio. The Rudd government said:

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