Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson

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    Harmony Day a celebration of WA's cultural diversity

    21/03/2000 7:05 AM
     
    21/3/00

    Thousands of people will celebrate Western Australia’s rich cultural diversity at a series of Harmony Day events today.

    Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Rob Johnson said Australia’s inclusiveness and tolerance served as a role model for the world.

    Mr Johnson said WA, in particular, was a truly multicultural society with almost 30 per cent of its population born overseas.

    “We should feel proud that the idea for National Harmony Day started with the 1997 launch of the State Government’s Living in Harmony strategy,” Mr Johnson said.

    “The strategy encourages all sectors of the community to develop initiatives that promote respect for one another and foster a genuine understanding of the benefits we all enjoy thanks to the diversity of our population.”

    Today, March 21, is also the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and has been set aside by the Federal Government to acknowledge the country’s racial diversity.

    Some of today’s main events include:
    • a community breakfast at Hyde Park, where Premier Richard Court will officially open National Harmony Day;
    • displays, entertainment and guest speakers at Forrest Place from 11.30am;
    • wrapping the Alexander Library Building with a giant orange Harmony Day ribbon; and -
    • the opening of the Children of Terezin: Their Art … Their Legacy exhibition at the WA Museum.

    Mr Johnson urged all Western Australians to enter into the spirit of this year’s National Harmony Day, with its theme of Respect, and reflect on the enormous contribution migrants have made to the State and nation.

    “In an Olympic year, when the eyes of the world are on Australia, it is appropriate that we renew our commitment to an open, tolerant and free society in which our differences are celebrated and our common goals recognised,” he said.

    Opening National Harmony Day at the community breakfast in Hyde Park this morning, Premier Richard Court said Western Australians were fortunate to live in a diverse society, where cultural histories could be shared.

    “The people of WA have their origins in 150 different countries, with almost one third of us born overseas and 40 per cent speaking a language other than English at home,” he said.

    “We should feel privileged to know people from such diverse backgrounds - our families, friends and work colleagues - and learn from them to enrich our own lives.”

    Media contact: Fran Hodge 9481 3244