Good afternoon everyone.
First, I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land we are meeting on, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.
I acknowledge their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and the region. I pay my respects to any other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are here today and am proud to be part of a Government that is committed to implementing the Uluru statement from the heart in full.
I thank Bihong Wang, President of the Asian Business Association of Whitehorse-and all at the Association-for the kind invitation.
I would also like to acknowledge:
- the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP,
- the Minister for Housing and Multicultural Affairs, Colin Brooks MP
- the Mayor of the City of Whitehorse, Councillor Mark Lane,
- and Federal and State Parliamentarians who have joined us today
What a privilege to be here with you all today for the opening of the Golden Age 2023 Whitehorse Lunar New Year Festival, in the heart of Box Hill- a place that exemplifies our nation’s vibrant multiculturalism.
This area, and the way in which those from across the state flock here to celebrate together year after year, tells us a lot about who we are as a nation.
It is an honour to be here as not only the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, but a member of a Government that understands that we are stronger when we harness our diversity- acknowledging that our multiculturalism is built on over 60,000 years of First Nations people caring for this land we now all call home.
No matter where you were born, the language you speak or the faith you practice, in sharing and celebrating our diverse cultural traditions with one another, we have built a unique, inclusive Australian identity.
But we cannot be complacent. The last few years have demonstrated some cracks in our social fabric – and of course a rise in race based discrimination I know was felt so strongly by many here.
In emerging from the pandemic, it is so important to come together again as a community, recommit to a proudly diverse Australia, and be bold in our celebrations of multiculturalism.
In hosting this event for over 20 years now, the Asian Business Association has done just this.
I thank the Association again for the invitation and their work in building our diverse national identity.
I extend my best wishes for the festival’s continued success in the future and wish you all a year of happiness, prosperity, and good health.
Happy New Year.