Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - OPINION -

Each year on Aus­tralia Day, Aus­tralians come to­gether to cel­e­brate liv­ing and be­ing part of this na­tion, a mul­ti­cul­tural na­tion, a na­tion ex­pand­ing and thriv­ing on ac­cept­ing peo­ple of all dif­fer­ent races, cul­tures and back­grounds. How­ever, this year I am ask­ing you to look at mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism from a dif­fer­ent an­gle.

While mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism de­scribes the val­ues and be­liefs we hold close, this term can be di­vi­sive in na­ture. Mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism recog­nises the dif­fer­ences in back­ground, skin colour and life­style and asks us to ac­cept them.

In­stead of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, a term which fo­cuses on the dif­fer­ences of our coun­try and our peo­ple, I im­plore you to fo­cus more on a com­mon hu­man­ity. We all have this, yet no one cel­e­brates what we have in com­mon, we in­stead fo­cus on our dif­fer­ences.

The key to ac­cep­tance and har­mony is both; find­ing sim­i­lar­i­ties, and ac­cept­ing dif­fer­ences. Nei­ther are more im­por­tant, and hav­ing one without the other cre­ates an im­bal­ance which grows into dis­con­nec­tion with com­mu­nity, feel­ings of be­ing un­wel­come and iso­la­tion.

Our coun­try is di­verse, and we should cel­e­brate that. But we should cel­e­brate not just the di­ver­sity of our friends, fam­ily and neigh­bours; we should cel­e­brate our com­mon hu­man­ity.

I have worked with young peo­ple my en­tire life and have seen kids from all dif­fer­ent cul­tures and back­grounds grow and de­velop into kind, gen­er­ous and thought­ful peo­ple.

Their back­grounds are ir­rel­a­tive to their na­ture, my kids are good peo­ple be­cause that is who they are, and that is what de­fines them.

Aus­tralia Day is a time to fo­cus on our com­mon hu­man­ity.

Aus­tralia will con­tinue to de­velop, our peo­ple be­com­ing more di­verse and our cul­tures in­ter­twin­ing. It is up to you to de­velop with it.

Fa­ther Chris Ri­ley, CEO and founder at Youth Off The Streets

pri­mary and sec­ondary school over the com­ing weeks may be fac­ing sim­i­lar feel­ings – whether they are start­ing another school year or com­menc­ing a new school for the first time.

Some stu­dents can ad­just to the changes and set­tle into things quickly. How­ever, some young peo­ple may find this a daunt­ing and chal­leng­ing time.

There can be a num­ber of rea­sons why it might be hard to go school: try­ing to make new friends, pres­sure to get the best marks, deal­ing with bul­ly­ing, or per­haps go­ing through a men­tal health is­sue such as anx­i­ety or de­pres­sion. These wor­ries can make the next few weeks an un­cer­tain time.

Whether you are a young per­son strug­gling, or a par­ent with con­cerns about your child, headspace is here to help. As the Na­tional Youth Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion, headspace pro­vides sup­port for young peo­ple aged 12-25 years old who are strug­gling with their men­tal health and well­be­ing.

No mat­ter where you are, you can ac­cess help at headspace – ei­ther through one of our 95 cen­tres in metro, ru­ral and re­gional ar­eas of Aus­tralia, or via eheadspace.org.au where you can re­ceive on­line and tele­phone sup­port between 9am-1am (AEDT), seven days-aweek. There are also gen­eral men­tal health and well­be­ing re­sources avail­able on our web­site: headspace.org.au.

We wish you and your fam­i­lies a safe and healthy school year ahead.

Dr Natalie Gray, Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer, headspace


A gen­tle morn­ing in Port Dou­glas in the steady build up to rain later on

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