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Multiculturalism must be supported on sports field.

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MEDIA Multiculturalism must be supported on sports field The attempt to prevent a Muslim woman from playing soccer unless she took off her head scarf was completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated, according to the Australian Democrats. Democrats Leader and multiculturalism spokesperson, Senator Andrew Bartlett, said Australia's cultural diversity was one of our nation's greatest strengths and should not be undermined through ignorance or intolerance. "While this action by the referee to prevent the wearing of a head scarf may seem like a small thing, it is not too far removed from what the French Parliament has just legislated for," Senator Bartlett said. France has just passed laws trying to prevent students at schools from wearing items that have overt religious connotations. "To me, the decision of the French Parliament to ban religious items seems unwise, but whether or not it is the right thing for France, it is certainly not right for Australia. "We need to take a very firm stand against this sort of unnecessary discrimination," he said. "Recent comments by Mark Latham and others that Australia had grown used to and moved on from multiculturalism ignore the need to actively support the expression of diversity. "Multiculturalism is less likely to survive, evolve and develop without active support and encouragement," Senator Bartlett concluded. Media Contact - Daele Healy - 0419 867 649 SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT


04/317 TUESDAY 27 APRIL 2004