Page 775 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 20 March 2018

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Many speeches were given in the spirit of social harmony and inclusivity, and the ACT government has been working to create a more inclusive society where our multicultural communities have the opportunity to actively engage with us as a government and in the wider community.

I am proud to live in a city that is inclusive, and Harmony Day is a significant day in the hearts and minds of many Australians and Canberrans. I would like to thank the community groups who have engaged with the government to make Harmony Day tomorrow such a success. I would also like to extend my thanks to the India Australia Association, their president, Sandipan Mitra, and all the volunteers and organisers of the Holi Mela. I would also like to acknowledge those in my community who are from a culturally or linguistically diverse background and recognise the strength through diversity that they provide our multicultural community here in Canberra.


MS LEE (Kurrajong) (5.46): Jasiri means fearless. I know that all members from both sides of the chamber marked International Women’s Day on 7 March in different ways but I had the very real pleasure of being asked to participate in something quite different. I was approached by two amazing women, Caitlin Figueiredo and Ashleigh Streeter, whom I have spoken about in this very chamber, to lead a women’s self-defence class for our women MLAs and some of their constituents.

As a child, Caitlin Figueiredo was abused in secret by an extended family member for no other reason than that she was a girl. Wanting to help other Australian children and young women in similar situations, Caitlin created Jasiri Australia with a group of friends in Canberra. Together they established the world’s first pay it forward self-defence social enterprise offering a range of pathways to help survivors of abuse. Through their self-defence classes Jasiri Australia aims to give women and girls the skills they need to become their own advocates for change. Jasiri also funds life-changing programs with 100 per cent of the profits from its online store and events going directly to support the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. A few months ago I took the opportunity to attend the first class taught by taekwondo 3rd Dan champion and model, Lorna Munro, who, I know, has come on board to be Jasiri Australia’s self-defence expert.

In Australia on average one woman is murdered each week. Sixty thousand children live in emergency accommodation because of domestic and family violence or homelessness. When I was becoming a teenager my parents ensured that my sisters and I were taught taekwondo, a way to instil in us some confidence, discipline, some skills to look after ourselves should the need arise and to learn a little more about our culture because taekwondo is a Korean martial art.

After years of training, by year 10 I had achieved my black belt and by year 12 I had achieved my second Dan and was teaching classes on a regular basis. This high school extracurricular activity gave me the opportunity to continue teaching taekwondo when I moved to Canberra for university, and it was not long before I was asked to teach a few women’s self-defence classes. Mind you, that was many years ago.

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