Harmony Day Morning Tea
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Thank you very much Warren, to all my Parliament colleagues including Senators Fifield and Fierravanti-Wells, distinguished guests including Ernie Friedlander from the B’Nai B’Rith Organisation, the sponsors of the Harmony Day poster each year and other distinguished representatives of SBS and the Football Federation of Australia and Australia Post.
Welcome everybody to this celebration of Harmony Day here in Parliament House.
As the occupants of this building know harmony is not a word that is usually associated with Parliament House but this is a notable exception with people from all political hues here this morning to celebrate what is a very significant day in the life of this country.
I particularly wanted to mention Ernie Friedlander because his organisation has been sponsoring the Harmony Day poster competition for some eight years now and that takes this message into schools right around Australia. We welcome Ernie here today.
As you know Australia is a great success story in terms of the immigration program over the many decades, indeed centuries of this country. Since 1945 alone 7.2 million people have immigrated to Australia. People from every culture and background, people from every country around the world.
I’ve always thought that the great achievement of this country is the way in which we have successfully balanced two things, diversity and integration.
We celebrate the diversity of people who’ve come from all those other countries around the world, regardless of their age, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious beliefs or none, that is something which we celebrate every day in the life of this country and it has added to the rich tapestry of what is Australia in 2014.
And yet at the same time as this day celebrates we come together as one people in this vast continent and that balance between diversity and integration is something which we’ve achieved I think in this country in a way that perhaps no other country in the world has managed to celebrate.
So Harmony Day is another opportunity to celebrate what is so good about the rich life of Australia.
May I now welcome my Parliamentary colleague and Parliamentary Secretary, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, to say a few words.
Connie, apart from her other talents, was showing some rare sporting ability this morning when she was involved in the Harmony Day netball match. I’m told that the Australian netball team better look out because she scored five goals this morning as part of that, so congratulations to her for that this morning.
Ladies and gentlemen, Happy Harmony Day, and please welcome Connie.