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Opening of multi-cultural television

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Good evening to all of you. This is a proud moment indeed, , and I would like to congratulate all of those who have worked so hard to introduce multi-cultural television to Australia's television screens. .

This service is, I believe, unique. I know other countries have foreign language broadcasts, but that is not the same thing, because they are really broadcasts designed to appeal to one particular cultural group. They are not designed and undertaken

in a way that is meant to appeal to a wide cross-section of the community. The best programmes on this particular service will be designed to do just that.

Australia has changed so much over the last 30 to 40 years. We are indeed a multi-cultural society. All Australians need to understand the enormous contribution that has been made to this country in material terms, in cultural and historic terms, by people who have come here from nearly every land on earth.

They are helping us all to build a better society, a more tolerant and a more just society.

In the years before the last World War - and I know that is beyond the memory of many Australians today - but in those days I think we were a somewhat narrow, Anglo-Saxon Celtic community. We probably had the view if we had a different origin, well,

then, it is best to forget it, and just think and be Australian. Perhaps in those days we wanted to fit people a bit too much to one mold - that Anglo-Saxon Celtic mold - from which Australians had largely come in earlier times.

But now all that has passed and I think that view was always wrong. We recognise the enormous contribution that so many people have made to the material well-being, to the cultural development of Australia: that multi-culturism is really part of this nation.

These programmes are not going to be designed for one particular cultural group at one moment, and for another particular cultural group at another moment. These programmes are going to be designed to appeal to a very wide cross-section of people within Australia, designed in such a way that all Australians would want to see the programmes that are conducted on multi-cultural television.

In that sense, multi-cultural television is not something that divides, that sets apart, as just a foreign language broadcast would tend to do., rather it is something that tends to unify and have people understand better what this Australia is all about.

It is not just a question of television, either. Because in recent years there has been a move in Australian schools to get away from the older teaching of just English, history or Australian history. In my time there was not much thought of European history or Asian history or culture. But these are now

all important to Australia. It is important that all Australians understand as much as possible of the background, the history, the culture, of other Australians.

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We used to have a view that to really be a good Australian, to love Australia, you almost had to cut your links with the country of origin. But I -do not think that is right, and it never was right. A person is a better Australian, and I believe probably loves Australia more, if they maintain their affection

and regard for their land of origin; and maintain a recognition of what those origins, the history and the culture that flows from it, means in developing a better Australia.

So this is the philosophy, this is the approach, this is the ideal, of multi-cultural television. This is why so many people I think, have worked hard to bring this moment to reality.ยท.

I would like to thank them all. I would like to wish you many tens, hundreds, I would hope millions of Australians, good viewing on multi-cultural television.

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