Waitangi Day (+ address to Speaker re out-of-home care)

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Australia and New Zealand enjoy a closeness that grew naturally out of our interconnected histories and our geographical proximity. It is perhaps fitting, therefore, that our respective national days also fall close together. Waitangi Day is observed each year on 6 February and commemorates the ratification of what is considered New Zealand’s founding document. Written in both Māori and English, the Treaty of Waitaingi was signed by representatives of the British crown and over 500 Māori chiefs in 1840. Waitangi Day has been a public holiday since 1974.

The observance of Waitangi Day is an annual event enjoyed by both Māori and Pākehā in the ACT. This year the celebration was held on Saturday, 2 February, at the Queanbeyan Park. Madam Speaker, I rise today to publicly thank the local Tumanako Māori Cultural Group for hosting this event and Mr Isaac Cotter, chairman of ACT Māori Performing Arts Incorporated, for inviting me to participate.

The weather was perfect for an outdoor event that had something for the entire family, including food, merchandise stalls, and entertainment. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

It is important to me, Madam Speaker, that local multicultural community and performance groups receive the attention they deserve, and I was pleased to see so many local performers ready and willing to provide a full day of entertainment.

New Zealanders in Canberra play an important role in our culturally and linguistically diverse community. It is important to remember that New Zealand itself is also a wonderfully diverse place, with its Māori and British roots having been enriched over the years by migration from virtually all Pacific Islands and from many other overseas nations. Whether they are here permanently or temporarily, Madam Speaker, I am personally grateful for the contributions of the territory’s New Zealand residents, and I thank them again, especially for giving our local multicultural performers such a fantastic opportunity to shine.

Now, Madam Speaker, I wish to briefly speak on another matter. I find it disappointing that, earlier today, you/the Speaker gave me leave to make a personal explanation why I should not have been mocked in this chamber, and then under pressure from your/her side of the chamber, and without any explanation, you/she had me sit down. I may not be as pushy as the Chief Minister, but I deserve a fair hearing and fair treatment in this place.

So to continue my explanation from earlier today, the Minister for Children, Youth and Families laughed out loud when I asked her a question that referred to the New South Wales Government’s commitment to a two-year maximum in out-of-home care, and then she stated that New South Wales has made no such commitment.

Madam Speaker, the minister would be well placed to see amendments to the Child and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act and the Adoption Act that have been made public by the New South Wales Government. They have indeed committed to having a permanent home for children in care within two years. Thank you.

#MulticulturalAffairs #Adjournment #Family #Children #Youth

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