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Community game scores harmony goal.



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Gary Hardgrave MP Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs

Media Release H45/2003 - 29 March 2003

Community Game Scores Harmony Goal

The Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Gary Hardgrave, today encouraged all Australians to follow the AFL's lead by embracing community harmony and, like a good football team, pull together in these challenging times.

Tossing the coin that heralded the start of the Harmony Day 'Community Game' and the beginning of the 2003 AFL season at Telstra Stadium, Mr Hardgrave said that at this time of international conflict, it was important that Australians share their experiences not only in sport but elsewhere in the community.

'In this current environment it is critical that community harmony is maintained and that Australians continue to talk things through,' Mr Hardgrave said. 'I encourage all Australians to recommit to respect, goodwill and understanding among our community and say no to racism. National security begins with domestic harmony.'

'The AFL identifies strongly with the Harmony Day theme and is a leader in Australian sport with its anti-racism strategies,' he said.

The Community Game festivities began with Mr Hardgrave conferring citizenship on 6 people from China, Lebanon, Russia, Nigeria, England and El Salvador at a ceremony at Overflow Park where conferees were presented with Australian native plants and AFL footballs to mark the occasion.

The Community Game festivities continued with local communities from Sydney staging arts, dance, craft and sporting demonstrations for fans before the match between the Sydney Swans and Carlton.

'Australia is a rich mix of cultures and AFL is a game that can involve all Australians,' Mr Hardgrave said.

'Australians of all backgrounds are involved in today's match activities, including people from Laotian, Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Hungarian, Ghanian, Indonesian, Irish, Chinese, Kurdish, Brazilin, Filipino, Sudanese, Polish, Cypriot and Indian heritages,' he said.

The Community Game is the grand finale of a month of Harmony Day activities.

Harmony Day is part of the Commonwealth Government's Living in Harmony program. It provides Australians with an opportunity to get to know each other better by promoting our community's success as a multicultural society.

For more information about Harmony Day visit www.immi.gov.au/harmony or call 1 800 33 1100.

Media contact: Amanda Lynch 0419 123 862