Thu, 27 May 2004

Western Australia's culture of diversity

I am aware that recent media reports about the senseless attacks on three restaurants in February in Perth may have raised concerns among some of your readers.

Those who have visited Western Australia will know that our multicultural, multi-faith community is one of the most peaceful in the world, and that it fully respects the dignity, cultures and religions of all people who live here.

Western Australia has recently finished celebrating Harmony Week, which is held every year to showcase the rich cultural diversity of our state. Thousands of Western Australians took this opportunity to show their appreciation of our multicultural community and to say "no" to racism and discrimination in all its forms.

As Premier of Western Australia, I and my government are committed to promoting harmony among people of different cultural backgrounds in a safe and peaceful living environment. As in any country or society, there will always be a tiny minority of people with racist attitudes, but incidents such as that which have happened are individual and isolated, and are condemned by all Western Australians and Australians.

Asian communities, like all other communities, live a peaceful, safe and free life in Western Australia. One in two Western Australians was born overseas or has a parent born overseas. More than 170 languages are spoken in Western Australia and more than 100 religious faiths practiced.

GEOFF GALLOP Premier of Western Australia