I am proud to represent the electorate of Werriwa for many reasons; chief amongst them is that it is a strong, diverse, multicultural community.
We recognise it, we celebrate it, we are stronger because of it.
Australia is the most successful multicultural nation on earth.
There is no better evidence of this than in South Western Sydney, where my electorate is located.
Every week, in my public and private capacity, I witness the best of multicultural Australia, whether it’s at a cultural festival, a citizenship ceremony, the many shops and shopkeepers that neighbour my electorate office or the diverse faces at my beautiful grandkid’s childcare centre.
A mark of multicultural Australia’s success is that, for a vast majority of us, it is so unremarkable.
But, it’s critically important, as leaders in the community; we stand up and speak out against bigotry in all its forms when it occurs.
I’m pleased to say I have been in attendance when a number of leaders in the community have done just that over the last month.
Tim Soutphommasane did it in his wonderful last speech as the Racial Discrimination Commissioner, at the Whitlam Institute earlier this month and I commend it to you all.
The NSW Leader of the Opposition, Luke Foley, spoke out against the divisive attacks on Melbourne’s African community at the annual African Culture & Dinner Nite held in my electorate two weeks ago.
And in the last 48 hours, we have heard many of our colleagues, on both sides of the House, speak out against racism and bigotry.
They have spoken in favour of multiculturalism and our non-discriminatory migration policy, and I am doing so now.
I reject racism and discrimination because it is an affront to Australian values.
They are an affront to the Werriwa I know, to the Western Sydney I know and to the Australia I know.
In his speech on Wednesday, Senator Anning, in the other place, sought fit to name Gough Whitlam and the reforms of the Whitlam Government.
Werriwa, of course, was the seat Gough Whitlam. He held it from 1952 to 1978.
Amongst Gough’s many great legacies are the introduction of the Racial Discrimination Act, the adoption of ‘multiculturalism’, the introduction of multicultural broadcasting services and removing the last remnants of the White Australia Policy.
I am proud to represent the seat of Gough Whitlam and I am equally proud of his legacy.
I would like to finish by quoting the a constituent of my electorate who had this to say about the Senator’s speech:
“We are here to stay, raise our kids as Aussies, work hard and pay our fair share of taxes, enjoy and learn from our many cultures, advance progressive causes and resist bigotry, racism, and Stone Age mentalities.”
"We are here to stay, whether they like or not!"