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Labor welcomes Pratt suggestion of awards for migrant contributions.



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LAURIE FERGUSON MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION FEDERAL MEMBER FOR REID 16 MAY 2005

LABOR WELCOMES PRATT SUGGESTION OF AWARDS FOR MIGRANT CONTRIBUTIONS

“A new category of annual awards in Australia honouring the contribution of migrants to the development of the nation is not only welcomed, but well overdue,” stated Laurie Ferguson, the Shadow Minister for Immigration.

Mr Ferguson was speaking today in support of renowned philanthropist, Richard Pratt’s comments that “we certainly don’t do enough to recognise the important role migrants have played in Australia.”

“Some of the most successful businessmen, developers, entertainers and even politicians, are migrants. They have made undeniable and invaluable contributions to not only their own ethnic communities, but to the broader Australian community”, Mr. Ferguson explained.

“Labor believes that a national award recognising the contributions to Australia by migrants in Australia, should be strongly supported and implemented. This would go hand in hand with the creation of a new award previously proposed by Labor: ‘The Expatriate Australian of the Year’ award.”

“Both awards, if backed by the Government, would complement the existing Australian and Young Australian of the Year awards. Most importantly, these awards would be a true reflection of multicultural Australia: a vast boiling pot of talent and acceptance from varying countries and cultures.”

“With the increase of migrant intake, and particularly skilled migrants, simultaneously, there has been an increase in Australians being poached overseas for work.”

“We must recognise those who come to our country, work hard and contribute to the economic, social and cultural development of Australia. We must also reward the expatriates, who leave with intrinsic Australian ideals, and like Mr. Pratt, achieve success on a global scale whilst putting Australia on the map,” concluded Laurie Ferguson.

16 May 2005

For further information, please contact Laurie Ferguson on 02 9637 4714 or Aisha Amjad on 0413 511 666.