Can I also add my acknowledgment of country.
Can I start by acknowledging:
- my state parliamentary colleague Minister John Ajaka
- President of the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters' Council, Russell Anderson
- other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
As Minister for International Development and the Pacific, can I especially welcome Doctor Tangi Steen and Inoke Fotu Hu'akau from Tonga and other overseas visitors.
Whilst many of you have known me from my many years involvement in the multicultural sphere and as a former Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, I am pleased to still have involvement with you through my current role.
Much of my work is in the Indo-Pacific and I know many of you work in ethnic media associated with many languages and communities in our region.
I want to congratulate you on the work that you do to connect the vast ethnic community in Australia – a vibrant tapestry of hundreds of ethnic backgrounds.
While almost 1 in 2 Australians was either born overseas or has a parent who was born overseas, I believe the ethnic media do not get the recognition you deserve.
I often say that in political life, most of my colleagues are focussed on the mainstream media outlets. My ethnic media list is over 500 outlets!
As the daughter of Italian migrants, I know how important it is to be included, to feel the same as other Australians…but also to keep your sense of identity…and be proud of it.
You provide the link that helps communities maintain that identity, while also helping new members of the Australian family to feel they belong here.
We live in the most inter-connected world ever, with social media and access to digital content. But being a migrant can still be isolating, so your role is crucial in breaking down those barriers.
Diasporas play an important role in Australia's overseas relationships and underpin strong people to people links between Australia and the myriad of countries with which we have strong and close relations.
The ethnic media plays an important role in ensuring that those diasporas are fully aware of Australia's activities in the country of their heritage.
This is especially important in my portfolio responsibilities of international development.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is keen to increase its engagement with the ethnic media to increase public awareness of our $4 billion aid program and the benefits that this is bringing, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.
I understand that there are literally thousands of ethnic community media outlets in Australia and tomorrow you will be honouring the best of them.
I wish you well for your conference and in your endeavours to raise the profile and representation of ethnic media in this country.
Have a great evening.
- Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7110
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555