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Monday, 1 June 1998
Page: 4357

Dr THEOPHANOUS (10:58 PM) —In the couple of minutes remaining I want to bring to the attention of the House a matter which I raised earlier today and which has to do with the continuing attacks that are being made on multiculturalism as a philosophy and a practice by a range of commentators in the mainstream media in this country. Earlier on we heard the member for Petrie (Ms Gambaro) and other members of the government talking about how they support multiculturalism. But the government has been doing nothing in terms of campaigns to try to boost multiculturalism, or in terms of talking about multiculturalism. In fact, the Prime Minister (Mr Howard) hardly ever uses the term at all. It is no wonder, therefore, that with the rise of extreme right parties and parties based on racist ideology we have a situation now where the media have been emboldened to publicise the views of those people who are mistaken in the basis of their attacks on multiculturalism, who misrepresent multiculturalism and who continue to talk in the language of the racist.

The situation is harming this country. Overseas it is not only the so-called Hanson phenomenon which is creating an unnerving situation. We have seen continuing attacks on the immigration policy of this country over and over again in the last few months in the mainstream media without any justification. Much of this so-called reporting is actually misreporting; it is mistaken statements, statements which are not backed up by facts. What we need in this country is for the media at least to have the decency to give the views of those who are opposed to these racist and anti- multiculturalists a fair go.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! It being 11.00 p.m., the House stands adjourned.