International Mother Language Day

MEMBERS STATEMENT - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday 21 February was International Mother Language Day, with the theme for 2023 being to encourage the pursuit of multilingual education. I can't imagine something more delightful to celebrate, for me as a former schoolteacher but also as the member for Lalor. Since I was elected, I have encouraged our multilingual community to ensure that their children keep their mother language alive by learning it through either the Victorian School of Languages, which of course is in our government's state school sector, or through private community organisations.

On 25 February in my local community we celebrated this day with the Victorian Bangladeshi Community Foundation and Wyndham City Council. In our community, we have the first Australian monument to mother language. It was its 12-month anniversary, and I was so pleased to join Tim Watts, the member for Gellibrand and the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs; my state colleagues; and our great Bangladeshi community to mark what is an important day. We know that language is integral to our identity. We also know that when one set of people wants to oppress another, they oppress their language to oppress their identity and to make them vulnerable. This day celebrates multilingualism.

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