Changing the Conversation 2024 Event Series

Following a successful season in 2023, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and Multicultural Australia are thrilled to announce the return of Changing the Conversation, a four-part series unpacking issues affecting all Australians.

Featuring facilitator led panels of thought leaders, Changing the Conversation explores a wide range of topics that captivate audiences and challenge views.

Multicultural Australia CEO, Christine Castley, envisions the 2024 series as an opportunity for Queenslanders to think critically about nation building.

“This series is a chance for people from across our community to engage in important and complex conversations about the state of Australia and the future we collectively and individually hope to build,” Christine said.

“We are keen to delve into the conversations and debates that many of us are having at our dinner tables and in our workplaces.”

“I am confident that the topics we explore will resonate with Queenslanders and help provide better connection with lived experiences and worldviews of people from different backgrounds.”

QPAC Chief Executive, John Kotzas AM, said the Centre was pleased to partner with Multicultural Australia to present the second Changing the Conversation series.

The series is part of a multi-year partnership with Multicultural Australia aimed at providing accessible and inclusive experiences through the arts.

“Cultural institutions are essential to vibrant communities and healthy democracies. For QPAC, it is important to offer a rich and diverse program of live performance and conversation events that provides entertainment as well as opportunities to experience other viewpoints,” John said.

“The 2024 conversation series promises stimulating and thought-provoking discussions that will explore different perspectives and dimensions of our multicultural society on relevant, challenging and important topics for us all,” John said.

This year’s lineup promises to mirror the rich diversity of Queensland.

“We have a fantastic lineup of experts and storytellers from across our community participating in our conversations this year,” Christine said.

“From academics to leaders in the corporate, community, sports and arts sectors, we are ensuring that voices from more parts of our community are included and heard.

“Each conversation will also feature a curated performance to help contextualise the discussion and showcase the talent and diversity of our multicultural community.”

The 2024 series launches on 12 March with Changing the game: Sport, women, and culture, a stimulating discussion about what happens when the world of sport, the world of women and the world of multiculturalism collide.

Discussions to follow include Culture in conflict: talking about world news when it hits home on 25 June, Who are we? Identity in a multicultural Australia on 20 August and Words that bind: creating unity through our many languages on 19 November.

Tickets for all events are now available, with discounted rates for those eager to experience the entire series. Secure your tickets today through  https://www.qpac.com.au/whats-on/changing-the-conversation

Changing the Conversation events’ panel members and facilitator to be announced.

 

For Media enquiries, please contact:
Stanton Dunn
Communications, Marketing and Events Manager, Multicultural Australia
0493 291 699
standond@multiculturalaustralia.org.au

Christine Castley Multicultural Australia

Multicultural Australia is distressed and concerned about statements made by the President of the Queensland Police Union in a Courier Mail Opinion Piece (25/10/2023).

As an organisation committed to creating belonging and inclusion for all Australians, we believe in our individual and collective responsibility to strive for justice, equality and reconciliation for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Multicultural Australia CEO Christine Castley says that Mr Leavers’ comments ignore the uncomfortable truth that our First Nations peoples continue to experience the deep and enduring impacts of colonisation, intergenerational trauma and systemic racism resulting in disproportionately higher risks of homelessness, incarceration, unemployment, complex health issues, disrupted education, domestic violence and neglect.

“The lives of some of the most vulnerable in our community, especially our young people, should not be a political game. These comments are divisive and harmful at a time when we should be coming together to work towards reconciliation and healing, and to focus on ways to bring us all together and to heal,” Ms Castley said

Queensland African Communities Council deplores the irresponsible comments made by the President of Queensland Police Union, said, Beny Bol OAM, President of QACC.
“Words from leaders and people in the position of power, influence and authority have profound impact on how we live with and treat each other as citizens,” Mr Bol added. ” We’re all on the journey of healing and recovery with our First Nations people, and we fully echo the statement by Multicultural Australia.”

Multicultural Australia joins with our community services colleagues and QCOSS in condemning the Police Union President’s comments.

We also emphasise the reminder from the Queensland Human Rights Commissioner to media outlets, commentators and people making comments in public spaces (including online) to remember that Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act makes vilification unlawful – this incudes any public statement that incites hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule on matters of public interest where the words are delivered in bad faith.

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Federal State Treasurer, the Hon Jim Chalmers and State Treasurer, the Hon Cameron Dick, officially opened Multicultural Australia’s new Logan office and unveiled a specially commissioned Indigenous artwork on Friday, 8 September.

Minister Jim Chalmers (Rankin) and Minister Cameron Dick (Woodridge) represent culturally diverse electorates in Queensland.

Both commend Multicultural Australia’s (MA) vital work in Logan – Queensland’s most ethnically diverse city.

Multicultural Australia CEO, Christine Castley, said that Multicultural Australia is very keen for community to feel at home in the space, and access it for support and services that will help them feel a sense of belonging in their local community.

“This office space is purpose-built for our community – with prayer rooms, kids play areas, lounge areas and meeting rooms.

“For more than a decade, we have shared an office space with our partner organisation and good friends at QPASTT, reflecting the close relationship that we share through our co-location not just in Logan, but also in other Queensland locations such as Brisbane and Toowoomba.

“While we have now both moved to new spaces in Logan, we continue to work closely together.

“Many of our staff live in Logan – which means they know this community inside out and are passionate about the people they serve.

“And many of them also have lived experience as refugees and migrants, and all our staff apply a culturally humble and client centred practice framework.
“More than 50% of our clients settle in the Logan region.

“Over the next few months, we will welcome upwards of 800 displaced children and adults across Queensland.

“Our aim is to provide every new arrival not just with housing, health, schooling, and employment services, but also the foundations that everyone needs to establish themselves and ultimately position them on the path to Independence.”
Friday’s opening is another highlight as Multicultural Australia celebrates 25 years of advancing multiculturalism in Queensland.

Guests attending also had the opportunity to taste a selection of international dishes.

The special foods, prepared by home chefs from migrant and refugee backgrounds will feature at Multicultural Australia’s MOSAIC Festival at Roma Street Parklands on Sunday 17 September.

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Multicultural Australia and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) signed a multi-year partnership today, connecting the multicultural community in Queensland to opportunities in the arts.

The Connecting Through Arts partnership was launched with Minister for the Arts, Leeanne Enoch, and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Leanne Linard, in attendance.

Multicultural Australia CEO, Christine Castley, said the partnership is a significant step in improving arts access and equity for the multicultural community across Queensland and will open doors for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

“Our Connecting Through Arts partnership is an opportunity to transform the arts landscape in Queensland,” Ms Castley said.

“There is tremendous potential for our multicultural communities to enrich the Queensland performing arts landscape, and very real benefits if we create pathways and remove barriers for individuals from multicultural backgrounds – this is an exciting step forward to ensure that we are fully tapping into the significant and diverse talent that exists in our community.”

“We acknowledge the barriers that individuals from multicultural backgrounds face – this is the next step on the journey, where we co-design programs to address the barriers.”

Queensland Performing Arts Centre Chief Executive, John Kotzas, said accessibility is an essential consideration in creating a thriving arts culture for everyone.

“It is important that we work towards creating a sector that reflects the communities we serve and our state,” Mr Kotzas said.

“Our partnership with Multicultural Australia is a systematic and creative approach that will move us in the right direction.”

The QPAC and MA partnership will focus on engagement, participation, and experience. The launch of the MOSAIC Choir, which celebrates our cultural diversity through song, is one exciting project. The MOSAIC Choir will join a line-up of artists in QPAC’s 2023 Songs of Hope concert on 6 June in QPAC’s Concert Hall.

The concert raises funds and awareness for HEAL (Healing through Expressive Arts and Learning), a charity providing expressive arts therapies to young people from refugee backgrounds in Queensland.

The collaboration is also providing an exciting platform for the Changing the Conversation series – four stimulating events across the year that explore different dimensions of our cultural diversity. The theme for the first Changing the Conversation event in March was the First Nations Voice to Parliament, attracting a diverse audience of more than 700. Future Changing the Conversation events include Cultural and Human Rights in the Digital Age on 14 June at the QPAC Concert Hall (tickets currently on sale), Brave Conversations About Multiculturalism in August, and Creating Belonging Through Storytelling in November.

Additional exciting initiatives underway through the partnership include work placement opportunities, mentoring, translated performances and tours, and opportunities to connect the multicultural community with the broader cultural precinct at South Bank.

Multicultural Australia welcomes the introduction of the Queensland Government’s Racial Vilification Law reforms in Parliament and legislation.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today outlined the reforms to its Racial Vilification Laws which includes ‘Relocating section 131A of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) (the) into the Criminal Code’, classifying offences of racial vilification as serious crimes.

The changes also include the banning of public display of hate symbols, including Nazi flags and symbols, and a more severe penalties for serious racial, religious, sexuality or gender identity vilification, with perpetrators facing up to three years in prison.

The new laws will support culturally and linguistically diverse communities to live more safely in neighbourhoods and public spaces across Queensland.

Multicultural Australia CEO, Christine Castley, welcomes the Queensland Government’s commitment and action to address serious vilification.

“We are pleased and relieved to see the introduction of the hate crime and serious vilification legislation into the Queensland Parliament. This sends an important message that hate crime will not be tolerated in Queensland,” Ms Castley said.

“The laws will enhance the safety of every person and every community in Queensland, especially for those culturally and linguistically diverse communities who all too often face harassment as they go about their lives in public spaces and places of worship.”

As part of the Cohesive Communities Coalition, co-chaired by Ms Castley, Multicultural Australia advocated for legislation dedicated to addressing the issue of serious vilification and racial hate crimes in Queensland.

“Multicultural Australia is proud to have been a part of the Cohesive Communities Coalition, which has advocated for these laws and shared stories from individuals in our diverse communities who, in many cases, had to relive harrowing experiences and trauma from acts of hate that in most cases will be a crime under the new laws.”

Between 2015 and 2020, the Queensland Police Service recorded eight offences against section 131A (of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld). In the same period, its information management agency QPRIME also recorded a total of 550 incidents with characteristics of hate or vilification.

At a Parliamentary inquiry last year, The Coalition tabled 17 recommendations that informed the Queensland government on these reforms.

Ms Castley reiterated Multicultural Australia’s commitment to advocate for the safety of individuals from families and communities from culturally and religiously diverse communities.

“We will continue to amplify the voices of affected communities and individuals, and work with the Queensland Government and response agencies such as the Queensland Police to improve the awareness and reporting of hate crimes.”

Multicultural Australia will partner with Multicultural Communities Council Gold Coast (MCCGC) to deliver the Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP) to clients in the Gold Coast region, starting 29 May 2023.

Christine Castley, Multicultural Australia CEO, has welcomed the partnership as the best way to deliver place-based and client-focused settlement services in the Gold Coast region.

“Multicultural Australia has a longstanding relationship with MCCGC and our partnership is a commitment to work with sector peers on delivering services, informed by local knowledge, that best meet the needs of our clients and communities.”

“We are committed to client-centered, culturally humble, and holistic practice; and will ensure that all clients are well-supported and cared for in this transition.”

Shane Klintworth, CEO of Multicultural Communities Council Gold Coast, sees the partnership as an opportunity to continue to provide quality care to clients in the region.

“We will continue the excellent service and support that Multicultural Australia has delivered to clients on the Gold Coast,” Shane said.

“Our aim continues to be to inform and empower clients to have agency in their settlement journey, whilst working with their cultural and faith communities to enable connection and belonging.”

Ms Castley and Mr Klintworth highlighted that the self-determination of clients will remain paramount, with all clients being provided information on Settlement Engagement Transition Support (SETS) providers available to them.

Find out more about MCCGC: https://www.mccgc.com.au/mccgc/

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We who have come from many places acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land which always was and always will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island land. We pay our respects to their Elders throughout all time. We walk together in solidarity of the pain of the past and the shared hope for the future.

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