Welcome to Australia
Good morning fellow students, and dear teachers. Today I will be presenting my speech on “Welcome to Australia”.
Over the past century, one of the most defining trends has been globalisation and the increasing numbers of migration associated with it. Multiculturalism has become a defining feature in many of the world’s economies. You might not be aware of but for much of Australia’s early history, its immigration policy was hampered by a racist view of the world that there was only immigration to those who qualified under the White Australian Policy. It wasn’t until the 1970s that Australia started embracing the virtues of multicultural immigration policy – a largely bipartisan policy that has enabled Australia’s economy to become one of the world’s strongest, and its society to become one of the world’s most peaceful country in the world. Although there have been times in history where policies and incidents haven’t always fostered an open-minded approach to multiculturalism, today, Australia has made significant strides in creating an environment where immigrants from countries around the world can attain comfortable and satisfying living standards in the melting pot of Australian culture.
When I think about the idea of welcome, I think about the experience of my family when we arrived here in Australia, 6 years ago. We were from a traditional Gujarati-speaking background and followed Jainism, and we didn’t eat non-vegetarian food. My father got a job in IT as a software engineer. He generally avoided parties, as in parties, mostly non-vegetarian food was served. Due to this, he was quite upset, as he was losing his chance to make connections with his work colleagues, but one day his manager realised this. Suddenly, he apologised to my dad for not serving vegetarian food and as well as made sure that vegetarian food was served in all parties.
I know how much my father appreciated that gesture – a gesture of welcome. It is worth to us remembering that sometimes it is the smallest gestures which have the biggest impact whether it’s standing next to someone or taking the time to explain something, or having a conversation with someone from your family, a friend or a colleague to make sure that decency prevails.
The history of immigration and the multicultural policy in Australia has been a long journey of facilitating an environment where migrants can fully participate and add value to the economy. Most of us in Girraween Public School, are from a migrant family. Our parents were warmly welcomed to Australia. They felt safe and secure and that’s why they settled here, and now look at the benefits. We are enabled to eat pizza without going to Italy, and we are able to eat Pau Bhaji without going to India. You know this is saving us a lot of money.
Well, I say this: there is every reason for us to be relaxed and comfortable about our cultural diversity. It stands for a simple proposition. A multicultural Australia means that anyone can be a member of our society regardless of where they’re born, the colour of their skin, their ethnicity or their national origin. None of us have the power to control where we were born; we can’t decide who our parents are. But everyone is entitled to a fair go and decent treatment
So, I ask you: Who here is for a better Australia? Who believes that Australia should have a culture of decency? Who will stand up to racism when it happens? And who will stand today and say welcome?