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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 March 2017) . . Page.. 1297 ..


I am proud to follow in the steps of Mary Porter AM and be patron of Pets and Positive Ageing. As a patron, I will be a point of contact with the organisation, attend their events—including one that is being held next month, which I encourage all members to attend—and readily offer any support that I can to help Pets and Positive Ageing achieve their goals.

I encourage everyone to support Pets and Positive Ageing so that they can continue to expand their important work. Check out their website or just have a conversation with an older friend or family member about how they are coping with their pet, and know and be confident that support and services are available.

Diversity, inclusivity and racism

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (6.32): I rise this evening to talk about, ironically, a topic that I believe has wasted too much time in this Assembly. But after having been preached to all morning from the other side of the chamber, I can no longer stay silent.

Time after time, I have sat silently while members on the benches opposite preach to us about diversity, inclusivity and racism. Ms Orr stated earlier that all we do is nod at stories of recent migrants and refugees at multicultural events. Ms Orr, I nod because I have been there. With respect to the stories of discrimination, adversity and harassment, I nod because I have lived it.

This government apparently stands for the Canberra community—the same government that has spent valuable time in this Assembly debating federal issues that we have no control over. This government apparently stands for vulnerable Canberrans—the same government that only last week voted against funding SHOUT, only to backflip today, putting thousands of Canberrans with a disability or health condition through unnecessary angst. This government apparently stands for diversity and inclusion—the same government that has spent most of today preaching to me about how difficult life is for people from culturally different backgrounds.

None of the members across the chamber has any idea of what life was or is like for people like me. None of the members across the chamber has been taunted in the playground, being called “black toast” or “ching chong”; being told to go back to where you came from; and having men say that they have “yellow fever” and think that it is a compliment. None of the members across the chamber has had young kids pull their eyes apart and yell out “herro” as you walk down the street, has people say, “Yeah, but what’s your real name?” or “Yeah, but where do you really come from?”

When you have lived experiences like this and you have learnt to educate, not condemn, you know the importance of what really matters. When you have lived experiences like this and you have worked hard to create the opportunities to be where you are today, only to have members opposite shove cliches and buzzwords down your throat, and only to have members opposite condemn you for not speaking up on law that is completely outside the Assembly’s jurisdiction, you know the importance of why you are here.


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