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Harmony Day Statement by Hon. Bill Shorten, Tony Burke

Harmony Day – International day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Australia is a community which celebrates our diversity and social cohesion.  We come together with respect for each other, young and old, to stand in solidarity and peace.

Orange clothing is worn today to represent social cohesion and mutual respect – both integral parts of the Australian identity. We are a vibrant nation of many cultures, faiths and communities bound together with threads of unity.

Our multicultural society is a patchwork of diverse backgrounds. And like a quilted patchwork blanket, each culture, while retaining its own unique traditions, is attached to another with threads that are strongest when we all unite on one front- respect for all people.

The best of Australian multiculturalism has always been about us finding common ground, bonding over our shared love of this country and our shared hope for the future. This is what we value, when we value multiculturalism: parents raising children, friends coming together, neighbours looking out for one another. People volunteering, caring, people putting in and giving back.

Because what makes a good Australian is not measured by how your ancestors got here, or the number of generations they’ve been here. What makes a good Australian isn’t determined by the amount of money you have in your bank account or the postcode you live in.     What makes a good Australian isn’t the god you worship or the person you love.

What makes a good Australian is what is in your heart. What makes a good Australian is how you raise your children, whether you respect the laws of this country. What makes a good Australian is ‘kindness in another’s trouble and courage in your own’.

This is the powerful truth of our national success. It’s a truth we need to hold on to and to assert, loudly and proudly, every time we hear someone trying to whip-up fear, or peddle hate speech. As we celebrate Harmony Day, let us renew and strengthen our commitment to safeguard its message of respect and inclusiveness for all.