Remarks on the south australia multicultural bill

4 March 2021

Mr DULUK (Waite) (16:49): I also rise to make a small contribution to the South Australian Multicultural Bill 2020 and am looking forward to it getting through the house. As has been said by all sides—by the member for Ramsay in her contribution and, indeed, by the government—multiculturalism in this state is an important, bipartisan issue.

I think it is timely that after several decades there has now been an update and review of the act and a review of the important role that the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission (SAMEAC) plays in our community to ensure that multicultural communities, communities where English is a second language and communities of new migrants and refugees have a space and a voice in the public discourse of our state.

To that extent, I was somewhat surprised when in recent weeks, before this bill came to the house, I was contacted by members of the multicultural and ethnic affairs community about some concerns they had about the bill as then laid on the table. I am really quite relieved that I and indeed other members of the house, especially the member for Florey and my other colleagues in this quarter of the U-shape, have been able to work with people like Mr Norman Schueler, Chair of SAMEAC, Dr Tony Cocchiaro and other members of SAMEAC to ensure that the legislation presented in a bipartisan manner to this house does indeed meet that threshold. I know there are quite a few amendments as tabled by the government, which I look forward to supporting, and of course some amendments by the member for Ramsay as well, which I will give due consideration as the debate goes on.

I will just touch on a very important multicultural event that happened last Saturday up at Hill River, as it was known—it is now known as Polish Hill River—to celebrate the 150 years of settlement at Polish Hill River and the arrival of Father Leon Rogalski S.J. to Polish Hill River some 150 years ago, which is so important. Why is this important to me? It is talking about Polish settlement here in South Australia. Of course, for those who do not know, my own family background is of Polish descent.

Polish Hill River has been around for many years and is an important part of the Clare Valley community and, indeed, the history of migration to and settlement in South Australia, with the first Poles arriving in about 1844 and settling in Tanunda. Those first Poles were Galasz and Wotka (Gallasch and Wuttke, as they were known in Prussian German). It was some time later, in about 1856, that 131 Poles settled in Sevenhill, and several years later, in 1870, Father Leon Rogalski came to Australia to service that community.

It was really the first time that migrant community from Poland had pastoral care in their own language and was so looked after, showing the importance of faith and language to a community. For those who follow the history of the settlement of South Australia, we know that many districts across the state, whether it be Tanunda or up in the Adelaide Hills, where there was strong Prussian German migration, many of those people were fleeing persecution from their homelands at the time.

Indeed, the story of Australian migration and settlement is of people fleeing persecution. Of course, we celebrate St Patrick's Day today. The contribution of the Irish community in Australia is next to none. They obviously played a huge part in the penal colonies of Britain and in the history of this nation. Pretty much every subsequent wave of migrants, whether they be economic or political refugees, or fleeing war, oppression or famine, has come and made its contribution to this state.

It was really an honour to be up at Polish Hill River on Saturday. Of course, the official opening was presided by His Excellency the Hon. Hieu Van Le AC, our Governor. The Hon. Mr Michael Kolodziejski, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland was in attendance, as was the Most Reverend Patrick O'Regan, Archbishop of Adelaide, and a huge number from the Polish community in Adelaide—I would say some 200 people. The government was represented by the Hon. Michelle Lensink from the other place, and the member for Frome, Mr Geoff Brock, was there. It was a wonderful occasion for community.

To that extent, I would really like to thank the dedicated volunteers of the Polish Hill River Church Museum, led by chairman, Jerzy (George) Mrotek; vice chair, Irena Sosnowski; treasurer, Krystyna Gajewski; maintenance officer, Richard Novorolski; and curator, Edward Dudzinski. The secretary is unfilled, but Ted Dudzinski is filling that role at the moment and he probably will for the foreseeable future.

I thank all the members of the Polish Hill River Church Museum, who really are the custodians of 150 years of tradition, of Polish heritage in the Clare Valley and of course across all of South Australia. I know for the last several weekends in the lead-up to last Saturday they were up there maintaining Polish Hill River and ensuring that the festivities on Saturday were exceptional, and indeed they were. Of course, there was a large contingent of pilgrims who came over from Melbourne, especially from the Jesuit order, and quite a lot of Poles from Melbourne came across as well. I think they were excited to get out of Melbourne for the first time in a long time.

It was a really wonderful occasion of celebration. As always, the Governor's address to the community was excellent. I think many in the Polish community see His Excellency as an honorary Pole. His story of migration to this wonderful state I think aligns with that of many from the Polish community. For me, it was fantastic to see last week's celebration go ahead. It was meant to happen last year, but COVID postponed it, so it was actually 151 years of settlement. I thank George Mrotek and his group of volunteers for putting together last Saturday's celebration, which was truly a credit to them.

Across all multicultural communities of South Australia, whether it be in the Polish community, the Vietnamese community, the Cambodian community—

Ms Bedford: The Italian community.

Mr DULUK: —the Italian community, as the member for Florey indicates, as there are many from the Italian community in her electorate—everyone is so proud of what they are doing. I know in a couple of weeks is the Polish-Hungarian Friendship society annual get together, and no doubt the member for Cheltenham will be there, as he is proud of his Hungarian background. So many in this house are proud of those who have come before them and share that special relationship. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, it is so important when it comes to multiculturalism in this state that we have a bipartisan approach—

Ms Bedford: Multipartisan.

Mr DULUK: —multipartisan approach even, as many would say—that all South Australians are on the same page and that we always look to assist those who are new to our nation, who may struggle with our language, our customs and our norms.

That really is the role of SAMEAC now over many, many years, which has been out there to be able to foster that relationship with new Australians, with migrants to this nation, to make them feel welcome and to help show them how their communities can work with the broader society to ensure that there are language classes and that young mums and children especially, over the history of migration, have the support they need in terms of integrating into our communities in a harmonious way. This ensures that all South Australians, no matter where they come from or how long they have been here, can make a wonderful contribution to this state.