Tuesday, 21 February 2023

Members statements

International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day

Lee TARLAMIS (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (13:10): Today is International Mother Language Day, a day that celebrates the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity in our multicultural communities. Language is more than just a way of communicating with one another; it is also the main method of carrying out our traditions, values and cultural identities. In the case of my family, my father was born on the island of Lemnos in Greece, migrating to Uruguay when he was around 12 months old, later migrating with the family to Australia, speaking Spanish and Greek. His journey was like many others to Australia, and speaking his mother language was a way for him to stay connected to his culture and family and pass down the culture to his children.

This year’s theme of International Mother Language Day is multicultural education, focusing on starting a discussion on the greater need for multilingual education, particularly in the mother tongue of our local communities. This not only would help to unite communities together but has the potential to transform education in an increasingly global world and revitalise languages at risk of extinction. Children should be allowed to freely showcase their language and culture in their schools, and I know schools in my community encourage students to celebrate today.

The significance of celebrating International Mother Language Day is to remind all that intercultural communication and cultural diversity are our greatest strength here in Victoria. We must preserve and promote the diverse cultures, languages and traditions that make our country and our state so unique and special. It is essential to celebrate cultural backgrounds and celebrate languages as a pivotal part of our successful multicultural society.