Australian Democrats’ Spokesperson for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Andrew Bartlett, today marked International Day of Tolerance by calling on Australians to actively support multiculturalism.
Senator Bartlett said that with pressure being placed on ethnic communities due to the recent focus on terrorism, it becomes easy to ignore the place of these communities in our society and for damaging gaps in communication to emerge.
“Our ethnic communities positively contribute to our society and it is important that we do not exclude any community or allow barriers to develop due to a lack of understanding or misplaced fear of these cultures,” Senator Bartlett said.
“Now more than ever we need to ensure that the lines of communication remain open and that we actively foster ties with Australias diverse ethnic communities.
“It is all well and good for the Prime Minister to expect ethnic communities to integrate into wider Australian society but without the real political will to be inclusive or to even make the effort to understand the myriad cultures which make up Australias diverse and vibrant society, we will only leave the way open for exclusion and disaffection.
“We all have an obligation to ensure that all Australians are valued and multiculturalism is a way of ensuring that they are,” Senator Bartlett concluded.