Multiculturalism in Australia is a success but everyone must obey the nation's laws and support the democratic process, according to the Coalition's multicultural statement.
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20 Mar 2017 - 6:36 AM  UPDATED 20 Mar 2017 - 7:27 PM

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said "no one can look in the mirror and say 'Australians only look like this', Australians look like every face, ever race, every background," after releasing his government's statement on multiculturalism.

The document, titled: Releasing Multicultural Australia: United, Strong, Successful, is "overwhelmingly positive" about Australia's cultural diversity, the Turnbull government said. 

Announcing the statement, Mr Turnbull said "we live in a world of increasing intolerance and disharmony" but Australia is the antithesis of that.

It's the first multicultural statement to be released by the Coalition, using the Gillard Government's policy, since it came to power in 2013.

The statement highlights in the foreword by Malcolm Turnbull that Australia is defined "not by race, religion or culture", but a shared value of "freedom, democracy, the rule of law and equality of opportunity".

It said learning English "is a critical tool for migrant intergration" but that cultural diversity "is one of our greatest assets".

At the launch Mr Turnbull highlighted that more than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia since 1945.

"They've added their own identity to the extraordinary project that is modern Australia," he said.

The glue that holds all Australians together, according to Mr Turnbull, is "mutual respect" and "a resolute determination to defend our nation".

He said racism and discrimination have no place in Australia and that "integration and contribution" are core elements of the country's success.

"There are some people, of course, who don't obey laws," Assistant Minister Seselja said, "and we should always reaffirm, that there are certain things that are unacceptable."

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"We want to see that continue and this sets out some of the direction the government sees going forward.

The release of the statement came on the eve of Harmony Day, which Assistant Minister Seselja said is about the "unity" of Australia.

"It's about celebrating the different cultures, the wonderful things that have been brought to us by people all over the world," he said.

The Migration Council Australia said the statement affirmed the economic and social importance migrants play in shaping the nation.

"The affirmation of our settlement framework and the imperative for governments to support newly arrived migrants to become self reliant and active members of the Australian community is warmly welcomed," CEO Carla Wilshire said in a statement.

WATCH:New initiative unites Italian migrants

 

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With AAP