Harmony Day morning tea
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It’s my great pleasure to host and welcome everyone here this morning to celebrate Harmony Day 2016.
I would like to start by inviting Selina Walker to do the traditional welcome to country.
Thank you Selina. I would also like to add my acknowledgment of country.
It is my pleasure to welcome here today the:
- Prime Minister, the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull
- Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Bill Shorten.
- Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Richard Di Natale.
- My esteemed parliamentary colleagues.
- Distinguished guests.
- Ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you for coming together and sharing in this important event.
I would also like to take a few minutes to welcome Judy Slatyer, the newly appointed CEO of the Australian Red Cross.
The Australian Red Cross is an iconic organisation within the community and has a long history of embracing and promoting social cohesion and celebrating cultural diversity through Harmony Day.
I encourage you to chat to Judy if you get the chance, and introduce yourself if you have not already done so.
We are also joined today by the Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International, our cultural performers that started the morning for us with the Burundian drum display.
Great Lakes have travelled from all parts of New South Wales to join us today and are an example of how the many cultures of Australia enrich our nation. I trust you will enjoy this morning’s performances from our Rwandan, Burundian and Ugandan groups.
I would now like to return to the theme of the day, Harmony Day!
I’m very proud to be the Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs. This is more than just a job it is my passion and it is my way of life.
As many of you would know, my electorate of Reid is hugely diverse. Reid is home to a vast array of people from a huge variety of backgrounds, with ancestry coming from British, Chinese, Greek, Indian, Italian, Korean, Lebanese, Tamil, Turkish communities and many others.
As a kid growing up in Sydney’s inner west, I had classmates who came from all over the world.
Today, my kids are experiencing an even more diverse school community, where they learn alongside new arrivals from places such as Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Korea and China.
Each year Harmony Day is celebrated not only on 21 March, but in the weeks leading up to and beyond the day.
Gathering everyone here today, demonstrates the importance and commitment we all have towards cultural diversity.
Not only have we come together here today, but Australians from all walks of life will be celebrating over the coming weeks the richness of our cultural diversity and the Harmony Day message – everyone belongs.
We are one of the few countries that takes the time to pause and celebrate our diversity and the richness this brings to Australian society. Symbolised by Harmony Day 21 March.
Colleagues and friends – with five days to go to Harmony Day, I encourage you to do what you can to help your communities celebrate. Already there are more than 4200 events registered nationally.
This morning’s event is one of many opportunities over the coming weeks to recognise Harmony Day and the importance of our cultural diversity to our country.
I trust you will all enjoy the morning tea and I invite you to enjoy two performances from our cultural performers, Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International.
Great Lakes are a wonderful example of the efforts that are made by organisations and communities throughout the country to ensure we continue to share our cultural heritages, live harmoniously and celebrate our strong multicultural society.
Thank you for coming and helping to celebrate Harmony Day.