MEMBERS STATEMENT | CULTURAL DIVERSITY WEEK

Mr MELHEM (Western Metropolitan) — This week is Victoria’s Cultural Diversity Week. Today in particular is also Harmony Day and the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Cultural Diversity Week is Victoria’s largest multicultural celebration, which features a week‑long program of festivals and events in metropolitan and regional areas. Presented by the Victorian Multicultural Commission and supported by the Andrews Labor government, all Victorians are invited to join in the celebrations and embrace our state’s cultural heritage.

Harmony Day is a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home. It is an extension of the values of Cultural Diversity Week. Promoting the message that everyone belongs, the day encourages community engagement and respect for cultural and religious diversity and aims to foster a greater sense of belonging for everyone. Just as everyone belongs, every person is also entitled to human rights without discrimination. This indispensable truth is particularly important for refugees and migrants who are, unfortunately, popular targets of racial profiling and incitement to hatred. This is the focus of the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which aims to encourage and support actions in our daily lives to defend the human rights of others.

Let us then, as I am sure all Victorians already do in their daily lives, carry and promote the message of Cultural Diversity Week, Harmony Day and the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that diversity is not a weakness but in fact a strength.

21 March 2017