Helen Kapalos asks ‘Who is an Australian?’

24 February 2017

Helen Kapalos, Victorian Multicultural Commission Chairperson, responded to the controversy surrounding the images of two women wearing hijabs on an Australia Day billboard.

In an opinion editorial published recently in the Herald Sun, Ms Kapalos said it is possible to be both Muslim and a proud Australian.

The Australia Day billboard located in Cranbourne in Melbourne’s south east, sparked a flurry of negative reactions from people on social media who took exception to the images of two Muslim young women wearing hijabs.

Ms Kapalos responded to the criticism claiming the billboard challenged the idea of a single version of the Australian identity.

“Australian society is a reflection of ALL of us, no matter what our background, race or faith,” said Ms Kapalos.

“Imagine knowing this is your home, growing up and being proud to be an Aussie, and partaking in everything that is Australian, but having a select few tell you that they find you too threatening or too different from everyone else?”

Ms Kapalos said it was sad that people viewed two young women in in hijabs as ‘controversial’ and ‘un-Australian’.

“I know on Australia Day I will be celebrating everything that makes our society one of the most liberating in the world, our egalitarian outlook and open, friendly communities, a country which is known for its inclusive and generous nature, a country which — for the most part — celebrates and honours all of its citizens equally,” said Ms Kapalos.

“That’s what makes me proud to be an Australian.”

Read Ms Kapalos’ complete opinion editorial on the issue.

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Draft African Communities Action Plan

The Victorian Government has asked the African Ministerial Working Group (AMWG) to lead the development of an African Communities Action Plan. 

A draft version of the Action Plan has been released for public consultation.

Help shape the final plan by providing your feedback on the draft by 15 December 2017.

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