Race Discrimination Commissioner joins Walk Together

Date: 
Monday 27 October 2014

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane was one of thousands across the country who took part in last weekend’s Walk Together, a national event that celebrates and welcomes Australia’s newest arrivals.

At least 18 cities and regional centres across Australia hosted a Walk Together event on Saturday, 25 October.

Dr Soutphommasane (pictured top right) was a guest speaker at the Sydney event, alongside Weekend Sunrise anchor Andrew O’Keefe and human rights advocate Mariam Veiszadeh.

The Sydney event attracted an estimated crowd of 1500-2000 and support from all sides of politics including Liberal MP Craig Laundy; Australian Greens senators Christine Milne and Peter Whish-Wilson; ALP senator Sam Dastyari and ALP MPs Jason Clare and Michelle Rowland.

Organisers say Walk Together “is about recognising that we’ve all walked different paths to form the Australian story. It’s about celebrating our different pathways and realising we share a common Australian journey.”

Dr Soutphommasane said modern Australia is a success story of multiculturalism.

“Gone are the days when people doubted the benefits of immigration. We have grown more comfortable in our own skin, whatever colour that may be. And we are relaxed in knowing that there is more than one way you can be Australian.

“Bigotry and racism has no place in our society. I’m taking part in Walk Together because every person in Australia should be free to live without being subjected to harassment or humiliation.”

Dr Soutphommasane offered special congratulations to Welcome to Australia organisers, in particular national director Brad Chilcott, for leadership in bringing together Australians.

The Walk Together event coincided with a National Day of Unity, an initiative supported by Muslim, Christian and Jewish faith leaders to counter religious discrimination and violence. On Saturday, mosques around the country opened their doors to the wider public as part of National Mosque Open Day.