Harmony Day—Saturday 21 March

Media Release

13 March 2015

We live in one of the most prosperous and harmonious nations in the world. In this regard, the various cultural traditions at the heart of Norfolk Island are also part of Australia's broader cultural diversity. The strength of each of our individual backgrounds is important to the Australian nation.

Australia's cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths, an integral part of our nation's history and character. It is at the heart of who we are, no matter where we live.

Norfolk Island's culturally diverse society strengthens Australia's national interest. Across our nation, cultural diversity delivers productive outcomes. Our Australian society promotes fairness and inclusion by enhancing respect and support for cultural, religious and linguistic diversity.

Harmony Day is the annual celebration of our diversity. Harmony Day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Since its launch in 1999, Harmony Day has become a significant day for all Australians to embrace cultural diversity and to share what we have in common. In the past fifteen years, it has engaged Australians of all backgrounds and cultures with more than 60 000 Harmony Day events staged in childcare centres, schools, community groups, churches, businesses and federal, state and local government agencies across our nation.

The central message for Harmony Day is ‘everyone belongs’, reinforcing the importance of inclusiveness to all Australians of all backgrounds. Harmony Day aims to engage us all to understand the cohesive and inclusive nature of Australia and recognise the benefits and opportunity of our cultural diversity.

Australia is a nation built by migration. Since 1945, 7.2 million people have chosen to live in Australia and today around 45 per cent of Australians were either born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas.

Australia wide, we speak hundreds of languages including the Norf"k language. Four million of us speak a language other than English at home. Yet what we have in common; the English language, the Rule of Law and our democratic freedom, unites us.

Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Day. Australians are encouraged to wear something orange this Saturday, 21 March, to show their support for our cultural diversity and a united, inclusive nation.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave