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Multicultural Advisory Council to discuss diversity and tolerance.

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Senator Chris Evans Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Multicultural Advisory Council to discuss diversity and tolerance

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Australia’s new Multicultural Advisory Council met for the first time in Canberra today to discuss ways the Government can tackle cultural, racial and religious intolerance.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said the 16-member council, chaired by AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou, will provide invaluable, independent advice to Government.

'The council will play an important role in articulating the benefits of Australia’s diversity and shaping this Government’s response to religious and cultural intolerance,' Senator Evans said.

'The council will provide advice on the government’s cultural diversity programs, including the Diverse Australia Program launched last month, and Harmony Day which is celebrated on March 21.'

The council will focus on:

• practical approaches to promoting social cohesion • overcoming intolerance and racism in Australia • communicating the social and economic benefits of Australia’s cultural diversity

• the inclusion of migrants in society.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services, Laurie Ferguson, said Australia's approach to immigration and cultural diversity was a national strength.

'Religious and cultural diversity is a permanent and valuable feature of Australian society and the make-up of the council reflects that diversity,' Mr Ferguson said.

'Independent advice from a council made up of experienced and knowledgeable individuals from diverse backgrounds and professional expertise in industry, community, public and private sectors will assist government in developing and strengthening policies and programs to promote social cohesion.'

The members of the council are: Andrew Demetriou (chair), Susai Benjamin, Hass Dellal OAM, Joumanah El Matrah, Carmen Garcia, Sylwia Greda-Bogusz, Rhonda Jacobsen, Gail Ker, Voula Messimeri AM, Nola Randall-Mohk, Brian Schwartz AM, Rauf Soulio, Casta Tungaraza, Craig Waterhouse, Samina Yasmeen and Katie Young OAM.

See: Index of Media Releases

URL: /media/media-releases/2009/ce09021.htm Last update: 24 February 2009 at 13:36 AEST