Steve Bracks


Steve Bracks as author (Photo: Random House)

This statement was prepared by Steve Bracks, an Australian of Lebanese descent, and a former Premier of Victoria (1999-2007) for the Mornington Peninsula Peace Vigil, October 2001.

During this time of international uncertainty and alarm, I was heartened to hear about the inaugural Mornington Peninsula Peace Vigil.

I understand that the aims of the Vigil are to promote cultural diversity within our community, to reaffirm those human values that unite us, and to provide a sense of hope for the future. These are worthy, timely considerations for which the organisers of the Vigil are to be commended.

Victorians do not support violence, division or racism in our community and will continue to show tolerance and restraint. We will never condone those who seek to drive a wedge between us and our common humanity. Every community in Victoria, be it Islamic or Jewish, Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox is united against any act of terror.

Last month, in the wake of the September 11 attacks, I met with representatives of the Islamic and Jewish faiths, the Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting churches, as well as the Churches of Christ, the Salvation Army, Assemblies of God and the Coptic Orthodox Church. A multi-faith gathering at the Rod Laver Arena was organised and attended by a wide cross-section of our varied communities. Members of the Victoria Police Force, the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board, Country Fire Authority, the Metropolitan Ambulance Service and the State Emergency Services also attended. This was an exemplary demonstration of Victoria’s culturally diverse yet harmonious society.

The Mornington Peninsula Peace Vigil 2001 is another opportunity to reflect upon the unifying features of our common aspirations for a better future.

Victoria’s diverse ethnic community groups have a magnificent history of cooperation and mutual understanding. My Government remains committed to promoting this harmonious disposition as a source of strength, opportunity and prosperity for all.



Steve Bracks is the 44th Premier of Victoria. He is an Australian of Lebanese descent, holds a Diploma of Business Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Education, is the former Executive Director of the Victorian Printing Industry Training Board and Executive Director of the Ballarat Education Centre and is a supporter of the arts, sport, education and recreation. Steve is is an adviser to Prime Minister of Timor – Leste Xanana Gusmao, Patron of the Australia Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Vic) Ltd (ALCC); The Balibo House Trust; The Burnet Institute; the Centre for Dialogue La Trobe University; the Conservation Ecology Centre – Cape Otway; the Eurekea Democracy Centre, Ballarat; the Hadassah Australia Foundation; the Seaworks Foundation, Williamstown; The Sir Rupert Hamer Records Management Awards; and the Western Melbourne Tourism Board, among others. He is also a leading advocate for both multiculturalism and Aboriginal reconciliation.