Page 768 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 21 March 2017

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Growing up in a multicultural community, it does not take long to figure out that we all share similar hopes and fears as we work hard for our families, fret over our relationships and strive for our dream jobs. We may be different in how we express ourselves, how we worship or in the foods we eat, but we all belong.

My electorate of Ginninderra is a dynamic and interesting place to live because of the many different cultures that co-exist in the region. Residents of Ginninderra were born in at least 35 different countries, from Cambodia to Canada, South Africa to Sri Lanka, and many more besides. We punch above the national average, with more than 25 per cent of Ginninderra residents being born overseas. We are lucky to have a wide range of restaurants, grocers, places of worship and classes in dance, music, art and language throughout the electorate. These provide everyone with opportunities to meet new people, gain new skills and comprehend different perspectives and ways of doing things.

I hope that Canberrans have taken a few minutes today to explore the website and see how they can get involved in this Harmony Day, wet as it may be. Our cultural tapestry enriches our communities, schools and workplaces. Multiculturalism opens our mouths to new foods, our minds to new ideas, and our hearts to new people. On this Harmony Day, I am proud to say that I live in a community that welcomes and celebrates diversity.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Commercial Arbitration Bill 2016

Debate resumed from 15 December 2016, on motion by Mr Ramsay:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (11.23): The bill before us today is a straightforward one which seeks to facilitate the use of arbitration agreements to manage domestic commercial disputes. The bill is based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law model legislation framework. I note that the UN model law has been adopted by a number of other countries and jurisdictions around the world and specifically by others that have common law settlement, such as New Zealand and Singapore.

Importantly, the bill does not impose arbitration on disputing entities; rather, it provides that if a dispute comes before a court and there is an arbitration agreement in place in relation to it, the court must then refer the matter to the arbitration process if asked to do so by either party privy to the agreement.

By introducing this legislation to the ACT and including technical amendments to make the bill consistent with the Commercial Arbitration Act 2010 in New South Wales, the ACT will be consistently in line with other Australian jurisdictions.

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