Media Release by Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

Social Inclusion Week Commences

The, Senator Ursula Stephens, this evening launched the Macquarie University Social Inclusion Forum, marking the start of Australia’s inaugural Social Inclusion Week.

The week gives all Australians an opportunity to see the benefits of engaging with their fellow citizens and communities, and a chance to focus on what it means to be a part of a fairer Australia.

The forum brought together a panel of esteemed Australians to discuss community issues, such as the importance of social inclusion and community resilience.

Senator Stephens outlined the Australian Government’s vision of a socially inclusive society, where all Australians have the opportunities, resources and capacity to study, work and engage in cultural, civic and recreational activities.

“Social inclusion involves the building of engaged communities where citizens can connect with each other, and create social cohesion and civic engagement to enable communities and individuals to survive and thrive,” Senator Stephens said.

The forum was hosted by the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion at Macquarie University in collaboration with Dr Jonathon Welch AM, best known for his work as the Founding Music Director of the Choir of Hard Knocks.

Senator Stephens drew on the words of Dr Welch, saying that to grow and promote social inclusion we need to focus on the ‘we’ and not the ‘me’.

“This is about celebrating and building positive and resilient communities and focusing on people and relationships,” Senator Stephens said.

Further information on the Australian Government’s vision of a socially inclusive society is available at Social Inclusion (

Details of the Social Inclusion Week (23-29 November 2009) and the National Street Party (28 29 November 2009) can be obtained at Social Inclusion Week (