Media Release by Senator the Hon Zed Seselja

Contribution of women from all backgrounds recognised

The Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Zed Seselja, today paid tribute to the outstanding contribution women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have made to Australia.

Speaking at the National Multicultural Women’s Conference in Parramatta, NSW, Senator Seselja said multicultural women have contributed much to Australian life.

“We are here to pay tribute to the outstanding role of women in Australia’s multicultural success story, to recognise how often they have defied the odds and to address the ongoing challenges that confront them,” Senator Seselja said.

“Women leaving their country of birth and starting again in a new land face unique challenges.

“When my mother came to Australia she spoke virtually no English which provided particular challenges.

“Raising six children at that time was difficult, but both my mother and father were determined to make a new life for our family in Australia.

“The Government’s Families Package includes significant measures designed to assist Australians from all backgrounds to move into work, stay in work, train or study.

“Support for families with flexible, accessible and affordable childcare is an important component.

Senator Seselja said the Australian Government also believes that learning English, having a secure job and gaining a quality education is critical to migrant participation.

“Our settlement programs focus on providing opportunities for newly arrived migrants to learn English, access a quality education and find employment,” he said.

Senator Seselja said multicultural women also have access to services and supports that Commonwealth and State governments are putting in place under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. The Government allocated $100 million in this year’s Budget for initiatives under the Third Action Plan under the National Plan, several of which are tailored for the multicultural community.

The conference was jointly organised by the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia, Settlement Services International and the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW.