To start the morning following the welcome to country, five political speakers gave their thanks to the NEMBC as well as their viewpoint on Australia’s multicultural characteristics.
First was a video from Mitch Fifeld, the minister for communications, as he could not be present at the conference. He discussed how Australia is the most successful multicultural nation in the world, and how the media plays a role in how attitudes are shaped in Australia’s ethnic communities. More importantly though, he wishes to promote diversity within the media in order to reflect this unique level of diversity Australia holds.
Stephen Jones, shadow minister for regional communication, stated how community ethnic radio reaches every home and community throughout Australia. He made a symbolic reference to his new position holding the Whitlam seat and discussed how the Australian former prime minister fought hard against racism and for multiculturalism. With this said, he made it known that parliamentary leaders support the actions of community ethnic radio in the ways it supports multicultural Australia.
Senator Zed Seselijia, assistant minister for social services and multicultural affairs, gave us an impressive statistical viewpoint providing impressive evidence for the unity and diversity seen within Australian communities. He stated that 45% of Australian citizens come from overseas or have a parent who has come from overseas whilst 84% agreed that multiculturalism is good for Australia. This national identity representing multiculturalism was said to work hand in hand with community radio, as it plays a ‘vital role in its ongoing development’.
Sam Daysari was here representing shadow minister for citizenship and multicultural Australia made it clear that we knew the facts, but questioned what they represented. He discussed how when people come to this country they can maintain their identity and culture whilst not having it conflict with universal values. He stressed that there will, however, always be a form of politics surrounding fear and division but countered this by pointing out that migration actually creates jobs, opportunities and is a key part in what makes Australia great.
Lastly was Doctor Richard Di Natale, leader of Australian greens, who also was not with us so provided a video of his speech, which largely surrounded a great deal of humbling support from the greens towards community and ethnic broadcasting in Australia, in saying that they will do anything possible to oppose racial discrimination. The implications of a lack in diversity was discussed as vital, in that it can distort how we view ourselves. He made it important that we do not support this toxic debate surrounding innocent people seeking asylum in this country
Thank you to all of them for attending todays conference.