Dear Members and Friends,

We are approaching that time of the year when those of us in the Christian community mark the birth of Jesus Christ, the God who came to live among mankind in order to save it from sin. For those of other religions, or who do not follow any particular faith, this is often a time to rest at the end of 12 months of toil and to reflect on the triumphs and the disappointments of the year that is almost over.

For the multicultural community in Canberra and indeed around Australia, this has been a year of significant challenge and achievement. The continuing flow of asylum seekers into our region has added unwelcome controversy to the issue of immigration. The Federal Government appears to be backing away from its full support for the concept of multiculturalism which has had all-party support since the days of Whitlam and Al Grassby.

The Canberra Multicultural Community Forum fully supports the Federation of Ethnic Community Councils in its efforts to extract a reaffirmation of commitments to multiculturalism from the Federal Government, and will continue to push for this during 2011. CMCF commends the ACT Government as well and the Liberals and the Greens for their united support for Canberra as one of the most successful multicultural cities in the world.

We have advanced the multicultural agenda though our continued backing of the National Multicultural Festival and the establishment of the ACT Multicultural Seniors Network. As always we work as part of the wider community. We are proud Australians. And as we hasten towards the end of the year it does no harm for all of us to ponder the message of peace and goodwill that is part of the Christian message.

And so: Rehus-Deal-Ledeates, Gezur Krislinjden, Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah, Froehliche Weihnachten, Kala Christouyenna, Mo’adim Lesimkha Chena tova, Shub Naya Baras, Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket, Selamat Hari Natal, Buone Feste Natalize, Sung Tan Chuk Ha, Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah, Shinnen omedeto Kurisumasu Omedeto, Sreken Bozhik, Il-Milied It-tajjeb, Meri Kirihimete, Maligayan Pasko, Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia, Feliz Natal, Hristos se rodi, Sretam Bozic Vesela Nova Godina, Feliz Navidad, Sawadee Pee Mai, Chung Mung Giang Sinh, Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan, Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun.

That’s just a sample of the scores of languages with which Canberrans will be greeting each other during this holiday season. For those I have missed, please accept my apologies and a Merry Christmas to you all.

Finally, I wish to congratulate our Minister Joy Burch for hosting a very successful reception last night at ACT Multicultural Centre; and I would like to thank all those involved to make this possible.

Best wishes to everybody and Thank You.

Sam Wong, Chair,

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