The Hon Alan Tudge MP
Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs
As Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, I am pleased to offer my warmest greetings to Australia’s Buddhist community and all celebrating Vesak Day.
This deeply spiritual celebration marks the three pivotal events of Buddha’s life – his birth, enlightenment and death. It is a special time for reflection and fellowship, as well as promoting Buddha’s universal message of peace and harmony.
Today, more than half a million Buddhists call Australia home.
The first Buddhists came to Australia back in the 1850s when Chinese miners arrived in Adelaide on their way to the goldfields of Victoria.
From the 1870s Sinhalese and Japanese workers, most being Buddhists, arrived to work in the pearl industry in Broome, Darwin and Thursday Island.
Today, across Australia’s Buddhist communities there is great diversity, with followers of Buddhism coming from many different parts of Asia and beyond.
Australia’s cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, based on the successful integration of migrants into Australian society is one of our greatest strengths.
Occasions such as Vesak allow us to share in the celebrations of Australians from a wide variety of different cultural and religious backgrounds, who have contributed to the social, economic and cultural life of our nation.
I would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone marking Vesak, peace and prosperity over the coming year.