Philip Ruddock


This statement was prepared by Philip Ruddock, former President and past Secretary of the Parliamentary Amnesty Group and former Federal Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, and Minister for Reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs – Mornington Peninsula Peace Vigil, October 2001.

I would like to thank you for inviting me to send a message on the occasion of the Mornington Peninsula Peace Vigil, and pass on my best wishes to everyone here this evening.

I commend Sally McLean and Christine Nagorcka for their initiative in organising this vigil and for engaging such strong community support and appreciation of Australia’s cultural diversity.

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land. I respect their continuing culture and value the unique contribution they make to the life of this region as well as Australia as a nation.

In light of recent world events. it is more important now than ever to promote community harmony and celebrate our rich cultural diversity. while sharing an overriding commitment to Australia and its basic structures – the Constitution, parliamentary democracy, freedom of speech and religion. equality and the rule of law.

Australians need to unite under our common desire for social harmony. We need to reaffirm at every opportunity. our belief in a fair go for all, and the freedom of all Australians to participate equitably in Australian society, recognising that our diversity can only add strength to our nation.

Australia is blessed by a rich mix of cultures, religions, languages, ethnic backgrounds and national origins – and with that, we are a relatively peaceful, harmonious and united nation.

Our unique culture is ever evolving, and celebrates the proud contribution of Indigenous Australians, descendants from earlier generations and migrants from around the world.

2001 has been declared as the United Nations “Year of Dialogue amongst Civilisations”, with its aim of promoting respect for diversity of belief, culture, language and tolerance.

The Australian Government initiated the Living in Harmony campaign, to promote community harmony and reduce racial intolerance. The campaign focuses on what make us all Australians and emphasises our common values. It is these values that unite us and strengthen our ability to resist those who want to divide Aus1ralians on racial, cultural or religious grounds.

In today’s international environment, we face many complex challenges. It is important that we work together to enhance community harmony, and maximise the benefits of our diversity.

I commend you on participating in tonight’s vigil, and urge you to continue to celebrate Australia’s diversity.



Philip Ruddock holds a Bachelor of Law from Sydney University, was the Parliamentary Representative on the Council of the Australian National
University, was the Past President and past Secretary of the Parliamentary Amnesty Group, was on the Australian Council for Union Training and the
Council of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies for five years, was the former Federal Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, and Minister for
Reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and is the current Chief Government Whip in the House of Representatives.