St Louis De Montforts Primary School Hall, Aspendale, VIC
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we are meeting. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging, and the Aboriginal Elders of other communities who may be here today.
It is a delight and privilege to join you all for this wonderful Father’s Day multicultural celebration.
I thank Annette and Lyndon Samuel for the kind invitation. And I congratulate you both for your ongoing efforts to build close connections within the local community through many joyful events like this one.
Indeed, I was pleased to be able to attend your Mother’s Day event at St Francis Xavier College in Beaconsfield earlier this year. That event brought together many members of the local community, including members of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish. I acknowledge parishioners who are here this evening.
As the Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs, I have the opportunity to attend a variety of celebrations and events that showcase the cultural traditions of Australia’s diverse communities.
Modern Australia is a unique fusion of cultures forged over thousands of years—from the ancient traditions of our First Nations people, through to the diverse cultural heritage of people from every corner of the globe. More than 300 different ancestries have contributed to Australian society.
Today, almost half of all Australians were either born overseas, or had one or both parents born abroad.
It is hard to imagine a modern Australia without the contributions of other cultures.
Diversity has been absorbed into our Australian identity and today we benefit from a mix of skills experiences, cultures, traditions and religions that make up our society.
Australia is one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world.
In every town and every suburb we see multicultural success stories. Right across Australia, we see hard working families raising children, running businesses, uniting people through community and religious groups.
I am proud of the fact that, in this country, we respect and embrace the rights of all Australians to practise, celebrate and maintain their cultural and religious traditions, within the law.
That is because Australians are not divided by our differences but united by our common values—freedom, the rule of law, democracy, and the firm belief that all people are equal, regardless of cultural background, gender, race or religion.
Celebrations such as this evening’s Father’s Day multicultural event highlight for me the importance of families in our society—and the crucial role that parents play in raising the next generation of Australians.
Families pass down the rich traditions of Australia’s many diverse cultures, and help to ensure that we continue to celebrate and embrace our cultural heritage, and preserve our successful and united society into the future.
We all have a role to play in championing the values that bring Australians closer together—regardless of our various cultural backgrounds, creeds, and unique individual histories. In doing so, we ensure our values and aspirations are carried forward, and cemented in the Australian identity for generations to come.
I thank Annette and Lyndon Samuel for organizing this Father’s Day multicultural event; and for providing an opportunity for people to gather together to celebrate our community in harmony and friendship.
And I thank them for providing us with the opportunity to share in the food, music and dance that exemplify the diversity and vibrancy of Australian society.
Ladies and gentlemen, once again, thank you for having me here. I hope you enjoy the remainder of your celebrations this evening.