Every year from the 15th to 21st March Australia celebrates National Harmony Week.
Harmony Week is a time to celebrate the wonderful mix of cultures we have in our country and communities. It is about inclusiveness, respect and care for all people, no matter their cultural background.
The Department of Home Affairs leads national celebrations to recognise this acceptance and merging of cultural values. Since 1999, more than 80,000 Harmony Week events have been held in childcare centres, schools, community groups, churches, businesses and federal, state and local government agencies across Australia.
These events are encouraged to support greater harmony within our communities, workplaces and homes.
How can my workplace get involved?
Research indicates that businesses perform well when employees feel included, and their workplace is strongly committed to supporting diversity.
With around 45 per cent of Australians born overseas or with at least one parent who was, Harmony Week has always been a popular way for workplaces to showcase and acknowledge their cultural diversity.
Some example events workplaces might like to do include:
- a multicultural morning tea, or
- bringing a guest speaker into staff meetings or get togethers.
Holding events such as these in your workplace creates an opportunity to think, talk about and recognise how our differences and our similarities make our workplace stronger.
You can find an event planning and promotions kit for workplaces here.
How can communities become involved?
Harmony Week encourages community groups to come together and celebrate during this time. Be it a morning tea in your own home or a large community festival, every event counts.
Some examples of how communities can get together for Harmony Week include:
- Public BBQ’s held in community areas
- Sporting events such as fun runs or walks
- Festivals or live music events
- Street (neighbourhood) get togethers etc
You can find an event planning and promotions kit for communities here.
The Australia Government website for harmony week has many resources for individuals, families, communities and workplaces to promote their events or simply get involved. There is also the ‘Recipes for Harmony’ initiative which introduces people, cultures and foods in a fun and informative way. You can read more about these resources through their website here.
Interesting Facts and figures on Australia’s multicultural history
There are some fascinating statistics about Australia’s diversity that can be good conversation-starters:
- Nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was
- We identify with over 300 ancestries
- Since 1945, more than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia
- 85 per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia
- Other than English, the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Tagalog/Filipino, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi
- More than 70 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia.
(Statistics taken from ABS 2016 Census Data)
Parents At Work would like to acknowledge Harmony Week across the country as a celebration of Australia’s rich and diverse culture.
All Information originally published on the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs Harmony Week Website