Harmony Day

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I wish to take the opportunity this Harmony Day to acknowledge a special group of people who work tirelessly to help establish harmony in our Canberra community. These are the leaders and others who donate thousands of hours to the more than 70 multicultural community organisations that operate here in the ACT.

Last week I had the opportunity to host 50 of these multicultural community leaders at a reception held here at the Assembly in the lead-up to Harmony Day. I took the opportunity to thank those who could attend for all that they do, but I wish this afternoon to repeat some of my expressions of gratitude.

Madam Speaker, I have some sense of the hundreds of meetings that these community leaders and other volunteers attend in order to plan, prepare for and organise events for their communities … and often for the wider community. All of this work of course is followed by the events themselves. And this doesn’t even touch on the many hours these multicultural leaders spend providing support to individual members and families in their communities.

Harmony Day is a day to celebrate Australian multiculturalism, based on the successful integration of migrants into our community. Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are. And I know from personal experience that much of the success and vibrancy of our multicultural society is a consequence of the hard work and dedication of the community leaders and other volunteers who carry our active multicultural organisations upon their shoulders.

I worry sometimes that these roles can sometimes feel thankless, Madam Speaker, so today I want to say thanks once again for all that these good women and men do. Thank you for caring. Thank you for putting the needs of others above your own comfort, often spending hours away from your families in order to serve and to strengthen your communities. Thank you for helping new migrants and refugees find solid footing here in our territory. Thank you for the mentoring, for the shepherding and for the many kindnesses that you share.

It is one of my privileges, Madam Speaker, and has been for a number of years, to work alongside these inspiring Canberrans. Today I am grateful for all that they do to establish genuine harmony in our society. I hope they will feel the support they need to keep going. I am proud to have them as my colleagues and as my friends.

Thank you.

#MulticulturalAffairs #Community #Adjournment

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