Lecture by John Ajaka MLC at Affinity CentreDecember 18, 2009 2022-05-16 5:46
Lecture by John Ajaka MLC at Affinity Centre
On Tuesday 15th of December, around 30 members of the Muslim community along with Affinity executive members attended the Affinity Intercultural Foundation Centre in Auburn to hear an address on the Multicultural Policy of the NSW Liberals for the next 10 years. The speech was delivered by the Hon. Mr John Ajaka MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition and the first Liberal of a Lebanese Australian background to be elected to any parliament in Australia.
Mr. Ajaka has also been a strong advocate for multiculturalism, diversity and tolerance. Mr. Ajaka conveyed the Liberals strong support for a multicultural NSW that is inclusive of all its citizens and communities. He reminded the audience that under the Greiner and Fahey State Liberal governments significant reform was introduced to protect the citizens of NSW from racial vilification and specific projects were introduced to meet the needs of ethnic communities particularly in relation to job creation and services to youth, the elderly and community groups.
In 1989, New South Wales became the first state to make it unlawful for a person, by a public act, to incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of a person or groups on the grounds of race. The 1989 amendment to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 also created a criminal offence for inciting hatred, contempt or severe ridicule towards a person or group on the grounds of race by threatening physical harm (towards people or their property) or inciting others to threaten such harm.
Much of this reform was championed by the Liberal government of Nick Greiner and the state Minister for Multiculturalism and Ethnic Affairs, Mr. Michael Photios. Mr. Ajaka emphasised the need for a standalone portfolio for Multiculturalism and Ethnic Affairs.
Mr. Ajaka encouraged the Muslim community to be more proactive in highlighting their achievements and to play a greater role in public life. He acknowledged the contribution of the Muslim community and emphasised the importance of Australian Muslims and all Australians in general to take greater responsibility for promoting opportunities for their communities.
Mr. Ajaka spoke about his own experiences as a child in an immigrant family who overcame extraordinary challenges to establish his own legal practice and how he avoided the skeptics and doubters to become a member of parliament.
Many in the audience would relate to his experiences as many faced similar challenges as their families settled in Australia from many different lands. Mr. Ajaka’s speech was well received and promoted much discussion and thought. The speech was attended by Auburn Deputy Mayor, Mr Izzet Anmak, School Principals, community leaders and members of the general community.
At the end of the evening Affinity President, Mr Mehmet Saral, gave a Vote of Thanks and he presented a gift to Mr John Ajaka as a token of appreciation. Mr Saral said that it is important in this multicultural Australia to have politicians such as Mr Ajaka, who culturaly diverse ciommunities can relate to.