Indo-Aus In a Day - Living in Harmony Festival

(12pm, Saturday 13 April 2013, Alexandria Town Hall)

Thank you, Sita / Sulaika

Hello, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City - especially today, the people from Indonesia.

I acknowledge also Mr Gary Jusuf, Consul-General of the Republic of Indonesia, and Mr Isaac Santosa, President of the Indonesian Welfare Association.

The City has been so pleased to join with the Indonesian Consulate-General, Indonesian Trade Promotion and the Indonesian Welfare Association in supporting this celebration of Indonesian culture, as well as of Australian multi-culturalism.

It would astonish many people - though not perhaps the people here today - to learn that Indonesian is now the third main language spoken in the City of Sydney. And after China, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, Indonesia is the source of our fourth largest group of migrants.

Exchange and influences between our two countries are not new. Indeed, they can be traced back as you are doing here today looking at the similarities between Aboriginal music and dance and the ancient culture of the eastern part of Indonesia.

So globalisation is not a new thing! Perhaps we are moving from that old construct of isolated nation-states to a richer and more fluid interchange.

Certainly, evidence from the most recent Census suggests that we are, with just over 49 per cent of the City of Sydney's present population having been born outside this country. Increasingly, too, more of those people are coming from our own region - from China, Korea, India, Thailand and Indonesia.

The whole face of Australia is changing, and Sydney is at the epicentre of that. It can only enrich our society but it also demands that we work seriously to build bridges , to make newcomers welcome and to connect them with the host culture.

The Living in Harmony Festival - of which this wonderful celebration is a part - offers a fantastic opportunity to do that, through forums and cultural days, performances and workshops, exhibitions and festivals.

I hope, as well as enjoying this terrific array of offerings here today, you have also sampled some of the other activities that are part of Living in Harmony.

Together, we can build a truly unique society.

So thank you for your contributions to making our City the wonderful place that it is. And thank you again to our partner organisations for putting on this great event.

Have a wonderful day, everyone.