Thursday 04 March, 2021

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services) (16:56): Buona sera. It is an absolute pleasure for me to speak on the South Australian Multicultural Bill and I do so as a very proud grandson of Italian migrants who left post World War II Italy to come to Australia seeking a better life. I have often said that I would describe our rich South Australian community as a somewhat beautiful mosaic, with all these different pieces and different cultures coming together.

It goes without saying that we are certainly enriched as a state, as our local communities are, for these countries and these cultures coming together. In my own community in my own electorate of Hartley, I acknowledge what a privilege it is to serve a very large and diverse community with many multicultural communities coming together. Sir, you would know that certainly not many weekends would go by when I am not at one of these multicultural community events.

For example, I would say the majority of weekends I would spend some time at one of the Italian festas, whether it be the Festa of San Pellegrino, the Festa of the Montevergine or an array of other feasts. They are certainly well attended and I especially commend the Italian community in my area, who continue to follow those traditions to enrich our state by bringing their traditions, their food, their culture and their language.

There are also many weekends when I attend various Diwali Mela celebrations. The Indian community is certainly a community that is growing. It is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, growing communities here in South Australia, and I have had the good fortune of visiting that country. In South Australia, we are extremely lucky to have a proud and growing Indian community.

In my local area, the Chinese community is also quite a large community. Recently, of course, we celebrated the Year of the Ox and the Chinese New Year, and I was able to attend both central and local celebrations for the Chinese New Year. Of course, there are also citizenship ceremonies. I do my very best to make sure I attend every one of my citizenship ceremonies.

In the event that I cannot attend, I certainly make sure I follow up all my new citizens. It is with great pride that I support those citizenship ceremonies, and it is a real joy to be able to see where our new Australians are coming in. They all have a unique, diverse story to tell. I often invite them back to Parliament House, because I think it is important that we invest in our new communities.

I remember my grandparents would often say that when they were new arrivals they certainly remember the politicians who reached out to them. Unfortunately, some of them said that Don Dunstan was quite a charismatic politician in the seat of Norwood, where some of my grandparents lived at the time, and they remembered what Don Dunstan would do. It would make me remember what they would say about that. Later it was Dean Brown and John Olsen. My grandparents would often talk about these leaders in their community, and they would get to these events that they would hold, and they really appreciated the investment politicians made in the local community.

It is incumbent upon us to make sure that we invest in our local communities, our multicultural communities, especially where we are able to assist them. Often when these communities come here, some people might not have a thorough understanding, for example, of certain processes or there might be language barriers. It is incumbent on us to do all we can to make sure that we help to make their transition a little bit easier when they come to South Australia, and make sure that they go on to do good things in our state.

This has obviously been nothing but a great land of opportunity for our multicultural communities, and it is very important that we do all we can to ensure that those multicultural communities continue to thrive. It goes without saying that thriving multicultural communities have certainly been one of the major engine rooms from South Australia's point of view.

Coming to the bill at hand, the government has brought in the South Australian Multicultural Bill 2020, which is the subject of what we are talking about today. Recently, the government conducted a legislative review of the SAMEAC Act to help shape what is new legislation. The consultation phase of the review featured various fora and certainly different workshops, a number of written submissions and also online fora and survey. Recently, up to even this week, a number of members have been contacted about this bill.

Key themes from the consultation were that the concept of multiculturalism should be modernised to reflect what are certainly changes and practices from some decades ago, to also modernising SAMEAC's functions. I acknowledge our very hardworking Chair of SAMEAC, Mr Norman Schueler, who is here present in the gallery today. I commend the work of SAMEAC. Only recently, I had the pleasure of catching up with Mr George Chin, and I thank him for his service and his leadership role in the Chinese community. It was great to catch up with him during Chinese New Year celebrations as well, and all the other members of SAMEAC—people like Maria Maglieri and others—who do a wonderful job in promoting a multicultural community in South Australia.

It has also been said that the legislation certainly should recognise Aboriginal South Australians as carriers of the original cultures in this state, but also to make sure that multicultural principles are included in the legislation. Of course, we also want to contemporise the language in the SAMEAC Act. I am confident that the South Australian Multicultural Bill 2020 reflects much of the feedback that was received during the consultation, and it has been presented far and wide.

After extensive consultation, our government has introduced the bill that will replace the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission Act. It also builds stronger and more vibrant multicultural communities. It is good to see that the bill will modernise the language used to refer to multiculturalism and also reform the current multicultural commission. It also requires the development of a multicultural charter that will lay a foundation for the development of future government policies and also better services for our community. There may be some questions about that perhaps at the committee stage, and I know the Attorney-General will answer those if they do arise.

The bill certainly reaffirms the importance of multiculturalism to South Australia and it does reassert our government's commitment to continue to serve and also deliver for the contemporary South Australian multicultural community. As I pointed out, this is a multicultural community that continues to change. When I was first elected in 2014, it was certainly a diverse landscape, and it will keep changing, so it is only appropriate that, as community expectations change, as the community itself changes as well, our laws, which we bring forward on behalf of our communities as a government, continue to change with those expectations.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the many volunteers who volunteer for the diverse range of multicultural groups in my own electorate. To the many clubs, the various array of organisations we have out there—be they religious or otherwise, sporting organisations (often some of those are linked as well), community groups, not-for-profits—I thank them for the good work they do.

Only recently, for example, I was at the Campania Club. I was ably joined by the member for Newland, as well as the member for King, the member for Florey, various other members and the Minister for Education. It was a real pleasure to be able to thank many of the volunteers who were out there. These community groups are the backbone of our community. Often many of these volunteers will donate hours each and every week. Often decades of their life are dedicated to these good causes, so I thank them for that.

They certainly hold our community together. We are very proud to have them, and I hope these clubs and these organisations, be they religious, sporting, community or otherwise, continue to be very successful into the future with what I am sure we could describe as the ongoing changes in the community. A lot of these community groups were set up after the post World War II migration phase that Australia went through, and we are seeing now that a number of these organisations are passing on the baton and that is a very good thing.

They are opening up to other cultures as well and, through those diverse cultures coming together, they are further enriched. I look at some of my local community groups that are going through that transition at the moment. Just as they are going through that transition, we see new organisations, new cultures, setting up their own clubs and their own organisations as well. It is a real privilege to be able to serve as a member of parliament with such a diverse, rich number of cultures in my own electorate.

From a portfolio area, I also acknowledge the wonderful work the departments do in making sure that they run tailored programs, be they language programs or culturally sensitive programs, making sure that we communicate well with our various cultures and that we are as inclusive as possible. That is certainly a good thing as well.

In wrapping up, I will not hold up too much of the house's time, but I do thank each and every one of the organisations, people who have contributed to this bill. As I said, it is only natural that a whole range of feedback has been provided. I know that certain questions, if they have arisen, will certainly be fleshed out and answered. I commend the bill to the house.