Australia is a great country, a stable democracy and a welcoming nation. It is a country of multicultural harmony and inclusion. Like Australia, Lalor is a diverse and growing community. Like Australia, Lalor is a place of opportunity. It is a place where settlers from around the world come to test their fortunes and make their homes. It is a place where a unique mixture of culture, language and tradition are created and accepted. It is a place of breadth. It is a place that encompasses both new and old, and with this comes significant challenges. These challenges are met every day because, despite our differences, the people of Lalor share the same spirit. In Lalor we know that fairness and opportunity are something that we have a responsibility to achieve for one another.

We know that, even in a great social democratic nation, society is not always fair. And that means that we know that we have to take care of each other. That is the spirit of the Indigenous people, that is the spirit of the people who have family roots in the district going back to the 1840s and that is the spirit of the people who we welcome to Lalor from all over the world every year. I have spent my life working with the children of new arrivals in schools in western Melbourne. Their families have made the same journeys that my ancestors made from Ireland and Scotland seeking a better life, ready to overcome the hurdles of a new land and ready to make sacrifices and changes to create a new egalitarian and inclusive society.

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