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Pictured here before my speech yesterday with Adjunct Professor John G Kelly AM, CEO of the Heart Foundation and Ms Sharon McGowen, CEO of the Stroke Foundation. I am pleased to be the co-convener of the Parliamentary Friends of the Heart Foundation and the Stroke Foundation for the 45th Parliament.

Ms VAMVAKINOU (Calwell) (10:43): On Monday 25 April, CSL Behring celebrated 100 years of operations. I was very fortunate to attend a commemorative tour of the CSL Behring's facility in my electorate of Calwell, and later a formal dinner to celebrate the CSL's centenary on 14 April.

CSL originally was known as the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. It was established in 1916 by the Australian government as a small branch of the quarantine department. The impetus for establishing CSL was to ensure that Australia, as an isolated nation, had reliable access to life-saving biological products during times of war.

 

Ms VAMVAKINOU (Calwell) (10:01): Harmony Day is celebrated on Monday, 21 March and it coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Harmony Day has been celebrated in Australia since 1999, and it serves as an important reminder that we need to foster an inclusive and respectful Australia, where all Australians feel a sense of belonging and a sense of quality. This year's theme for Harmony Day is 'Our diversity is our strength'. We have worked very hard as a country to build a strong and cohesive multicultural society that is often looked upon as a model of success by other countries. We have been successful in settling people from all over the world, and in turn migrants have helped build this country. We as a community are stronger and better for it.

I did have the opportunity this week in parliament to commemorate Harmony Day and celebrate the theme of 'Our diversity is our strength'. Last night I co-hosted an interfaith dialogue commemorating Harmony Day with my parliamentary colleague and co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Multiculturalism, the member for Macmillan, Mr Russell Broadbent, in conjunction with Religions for Peace and the Canberra Interfaith Forum.  

Religions for Peace is a global, community based organisation working for peace across the world and for social and religious cohesion in Australia and globally. The chair of Religions for Peace, Professor Desmond Cahill, was present to address the audience, and I would like to thank Prof Cahill for his efforts in pursuing interfaith tolerance in the Australian society. I also thank to Sue Innes from Religions for Peace for helping to coordinate the event.

The Canberra Interfaith Forum is an association of people from 12 different spiritual traditions in Canberra. The forum supports interfaith activities in Canberra and promotes multicultural harmony in the capital within a formal group setting. The chair of Canberra Interfaith Forum, Mr Dean Sahu Kahn, addressed the audience; and I want to thank Dean for his efforts in the Canberra community.