Local multiculturalism

CONSTITUENCY STATEMENT - FEDERATION CHAMBER

The electorate of Lalor and the community that I represent has an extraordinary challenge and an extraordinary opportunity. We have people coming from all over the world and have had people coming from all over the world for 40 years. We are building a multilingual, multifaith, multicultural community from the ground up, street by street, subdivision by subdivision. You walk into schools in my electorate, and it is the most pleasant thing to see: a school assembly with children from all over the world in the same room together, learning together and working together, demonstrating the ideal world that we want to live in.

We have a unique challenge, a unique opportunity, and, as I say to my community, and I'll say it again now: what I want for the city of Wyndham, for the community that I represent in the electorate of Lalor, is for us to be looked upon as the exemplar of multiculturalism—as the success story of multiculturalism. I want to thank all of those people in my community who do this really difficult work every day: the teachers, the sports coaches and the people working in community groups.

In the last two weeks in Lalor, this is something that has been in my face in schools and at a Holi event. In Tarneit, people from all religions came together to celebrate the Indian festival of Holi. Extraordinary. I'm reminded of that, of course, because our Prime Minister is in India. There are photos today of Prime Minister Albanese celebrating Holi in India. My electorate has the largest Indian diaspora in the country. They're part of this journey with me and with everyone else in the community. I want to acknowledge the terrific announcements today, too, about higher education in the negotiations with India—around the notion that Deakin University is going to have a school in India and the notion that we're going to get an agreement between the two countries about recognising qualifications. I know what that means in that community, when so many have come to Australia as international students.

I want to talk, too, about a particularly special person. I held my International Women's Day event last week, and this year the Lalor woman of the year is Say Htoo Eh Moero. She came as a refugee from Myanmar many years ago. She works in settlement services. She's a hero. She does this work every day.

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