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“Welcome to Australia, mate” – Letter to the Editor

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In response to Sean Ford’s column (The Advocate 20/9/12), I want to share part of a speech I made to the Senate on multiculturalism in Australia.
The events of Saturday in Sydney were deplorable. Just like Cronulla of seven years ago, this riot shocked our nation.
From the comments of Muslim community leaders across the country, especially on Tuesday, and from our own dealings with Muslim Australians we know that these people misrepresented Islam.
Mr Ford said “we have quite enough violent cretins of our own already” only panders to emotions of fear and hate.
Our community must reach out to people from all cultures; through sharing the stories of our traditions and listening to the stories of others’ histories.
By working through these stories, my hope is that we can appreciate the struggles we face in striving for a multicultural Australia.
We will counter the culture of “go back to where you came from” – with a, “welcome to Australia, mate.”

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