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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3752

Ms O'NEILL (Robertson) (13:55): Today is Harmony Day and the theme of this year's celebration focuses on the positive influence that sport has in our multicultural nation. So I am delighted to rise today to recognise the efforts of Australia's greatest sporting team in promoting our great multicultural society. I am talking of course about the Central Coast Mariners.

The Mariners have agreed to wear the Harmony Day logo on their strip when they take to the field tonight in their Asian Champions League game at Bluetongue Stadium against the Nagoya Grampus side from Japan. The logo will be on the Mariners' jerseys for the next three Mariners games in the Asian Champions League in Korea, Japan and China. Thanks to the Mariners, an estimated viewing audience of 150 million people will be presented with a positive image of Australia's culture of inclusion and tolerance.

As the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kate Lundy, noted today, sport has a tremendous power to build bridges of understanding and respect and is a marvellous platform for inclusion. Involvement in sport, whether as a participant, volunteer, spectator or administrator, unites people of all ages. Importantly too it fosters that sense of belonging and an acceptance and understanding of other cultures. So my wholehearted congratulations go to the chairman of the Mariners, Peter Turnbull, and to coach Graeme Arnold and his players for being such great ambassadors for the New South Wales Central Coast, the game of football, our country and international harmony. The Mariners are all class. I would also like to acknowledge Regional Development Australia and DIAC for their assistance in making this possible. (Time expired)