Ethnic business awards | Prime Minister of Australia
I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.
It’s wonderful to be at the Ethnic Business Awards tonight.
I’ve attended many of these galas over the decades — and, let me say, it always feels like coming home to a great extended family.
I look around this room and I see high achievers and people who inspire.
First among equals are Joseph and Angela Assaf, who worked so hard to get this event off the ground, and have kept it going ever since.
Many of you know Joseph’s remarkable story.
His journey from Beirut to Darwin in 1967 – what an extraordinary change that must have been.
And the mix-up at the airport in Lebanon, which meant he landed in Australia wearing another man’s shoes.
Joseph knows about walking a mile in another’s shoes – quite literally.
He knows the migrant experience.
He understands the uncertainty that turns to hope, the loneliness eased by community, the risk answered by success.
And he sees the potential in those who have lived it.
I know that potential, too.
In my first 18 months as Prime Minister, I have crisscrossed this country.
I’ve stood in the red dust of the Pilbara.
On factory floors from Ingleburn to Bundaberg.
In places of industry, manufacturing, education and commerce.
I’ve spoken to people where they live, work and dream.
And I’ve seen what a future made in Australia looks like.
A future of seizing opportunity — not being at the mercy of chance.
Of responding to challenges — not being defined by setbacks.
Of joining up intelligence, imagination and drive and letting the sparks of innovation ignite our economy.
Of shaping the future – not being shaped by it.
I see that future every year at these awards.
This gathering brings together our nation’s greatest resource: our people.
And acclaims our greatest national asset: our multiculturalism.
Telling the stories of business owners.
Celebrating their origins and achievements.
Applauding the families and communities they live among.
And creating an enduring record of entrepreneurial spirit.
It’s a record built on the thousands of stories that the Ethnic Business Awards has shared over the decades.
Stories that are the soul of this evening, and the heart of multicultural Australia.
Stories that includes the strong, diverse and growing portfolio of enterprises run by Indigenous Australians.
For more than 10 years, these awards have recognised the achievements and raised the profiles of a growing number of Indigenous Australian–owned businesses.
Operating in industries across Australia in mining and project management, in education and training, in electrical and engineering.
These business champions are making a remarkable and ongoing contribution to Australia’s economic strength and our national success.
Like all the award winners throughout the decades, tonight we honour people and businesses for making a positive difference.
Hard-working people, from every part of the world, who are providing much-needed services training and up-skilling our workforce, and offering women opportunities to lead and thrive in every industry.
The Ethnic Business Awards are guided by a few core principles.
That success follows where recognition leads.
That connection and inclusion are nourished by knowledge and understanding.
And that the joy we find in our diversity is what makes us the nation we are today.
Never just settling for tolerance – that’s far too low a bar – but celebrating each other, and taking pride in the breadth and the cohesion that are our greatest strengths.
It is a strength we can never take for granted, but must hold on to and protect.
The world is in a turbulent place right now. Our values are being tested. Many in our diverse community are feeling worried and anxious.
That’s why the role you all play as leaders is so important. We have a responsibility to bring people together – and moments to come together like this matter.
They matter to all Australians.
I know that I’ll leave here tonight inspired, as I do every year.
So congratulations to you all.
Thank you for everything you do.
Thank you for your energy. Your drive. And your vision.
You make our nation stronger.