Harmony Week celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity.
Harmony Day is celebrated every year on March 21st in Australia, which recognises our country’s cultural diversity. It is a day where all Australians can celebrate the fundamental beliefs of inclusiveness, respect for different cultures, tolerance, diversity, and a sense of belonging for everyone.
Harmony Day in Australia started in 1999, corresponding with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It centers on the message that “Everyone belongs”, reinforcing the importance of inclusiveness to all Australians - from the oldest continuous culture of our first nations to the cultures of our newest arrivals from around the globe.
And while communities and workplaces around Australia will be recognising Harmony Week by acknowledging the contributions of multicultural communities, is there more we can do as a nation and as a community?
“In a world that faces the ongoing threat of racism sparking renewed conversation and global protests, meaningful action needs to be taken to address racism in our own backyard” – DCA Australia.
Cultural diversity has two faces in Australia, one that looks towards a future where social inclusion inhabits a permanent place in our society and one that gazes to a past where discriminatory attitudes were acceptable. Changing our past is an ongoing process and one that every Australian needs to participate in and contribute to.
Australia is a multicultural country that prides itself on being a home to many. According to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) one in four people in the Australian population were born overseas, 46% of people have at least one parent who was born overseas and nearly 20% of Australians speak a language other than English at home.
Equal access to the workforce is an area where there is an entrenched disadvantage for some groups in Australian society. According to the AHRC, 1 in 3 recent migrants face barriers when they are seeking their first job, and DCA Australia research into the workplace experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in Australia revealing that Indigenous employees continue to experience significant workplace racism and exclusion, which is impacting their wellbeing and job satisfaction.
“Employers have a legal responsibility to take all reasonable steps to prevent racial discrimination but there is also a clear business case beyond this to foster an inclusive, culturally diverse workplace,” – DCA Australia.
Harmony Day highlights the opportunity for all Australians to celebrate the richness of Australia’s diversity, to celebrate how far we have come as a country while recognising that more can be done to remove barriers to racial equality and to understand how our personal biases perpetuate discriminatory behaviours towards some groups. Over 85% of Australians agree that Multiculturalism has been positive for Australia. Now is the time for us all to take a moment to celebrate our differences, our similarities, our diversity and live harmoniously because that is what being an Australian means.
Carter Murray is committed to making a safe and inclusive workplace for all employees, candidates and clients. We encourage all those that work with us and for us to embrace our cultural diversity not just today, but every day, and work together to create a more inclusive and culturally diverse country.