Page 4678 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017
MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and relates to reports of violence against international students, most recently a Chinese international student at Woden bus interchange. What steps is the ACT government taking to directly combat racism, white supremacy and racially motivated violence in our multicultural community?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Le Couteur for her question. Canberra is, of course, a diverse and welcoming community, including for thousands of international students at both our high schools and universities. I was concerned, as everyone else in this place was, I am sure, to read about the recent incident that occurred. I am advised it was an isolated incident but I am very pleased that police are working closely with the community to support them to ensure that they are safe in Canberra, and they are listening to the community. I understand that the office of multicultural affairs has also been involved in those conversations with the community.
We take a number of steps to ensure that Canberra is a welcoming place for Canberrans from diverse backgrounds and that they have the opportunity to raise complaints if they have them, including, for example, through the Human Rights Commission, if people are concerned about instances of racism, vilification et cetera. There is a range of measures. I do not have a comprehensive list with me, but there is a range of things that we do in our community to ensure that we are a welcoming community for people from diverse backgrounds, including, of course, the thousands of international students who live in our community.
MS LE COUTEUR: Despite reports by police that these attacks were not racially motivated, this pattern of violence has understandably contributed to a perception amongst international students that Canberra is not safe anymore. What will the ACT government do to reassure residents and anyone thinking of visiting?
MADAM SPEAKER: That question was to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, but you are choosing to take it, Minister—
MS BERRY: Yes, Madam Speaker. If the question is specifically about the students and their support from the Education Directorate then I can respond to that.
MS LE COUTEUR: I was thinking more broadly than students.
Opposition members interjecting—
MADAM SPEAKER: It is not a discussion. Minister Berry will take the floor.
MS BERRY: As soon as the ACT Education Directorate became aware of this matter, they immediately supported the students who were involved. They were visited in hospital by members of the Education Directorate. I understand that the police have also provided advice and support to the students concerned. Members of the Education Directorate also met with leaders of the Chinese community in the