, Former Prime Minister of Australia
The freedom to express ourselves and to embrace diversity is what makes Australia one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world.
For more than 40,000 years Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people cared for this country. Theirs are the oldest continuing cultures on earth.
Today, people from around the globe live here together in remarkable harmony – Australia is home to people from nearly 200 countries.
Our national identity is not defined by a single race, religion, or background, but by shared political values, a marvellous fusion of cultures and languages and the understanding that our differences should be celebrated.
Binding us together is mutual respect.
Celebrations such as the International Festival of Language and Culture are a powerful reminder that we are greatly enriched by this diversity.
As you gather for this year’s event, I wish you, your family and friends, an enjoyable festival.