Multicultural Hat-trick

August 26, 2011 by Henry Benjamin
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First Sydney’s Peter Wertheim was made a member of the Australian Multicultural Council, then John Searle was appointed Chair of the Victorian Equal Rights and Human Rights Commission…with the week finishing off with Grahame Leonard’s appointment as a Victorian Multicultural Commissioner.

Grahame Leonard

The former president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry told J-Wire: “Recent events in Europe have had an unpleasant affect on multiculturalism so there will be much work to be done to maintain stability in the community. It is important that people understand that the Victorian and for that matter Australian model is quite to different to that being practised in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe. There over 200 ethnic groups in Melbourne so the Victorian Multicultural Commission has plenty on its plate. Victoria has enjoyed support for multiculturalism consistently irrespective of which political party has been in charge.”

J-Wire asked Leonard if he could make a difference, what would it be. He replied: “To have all Victorians consider that all multiculturalism policies applied to each and every one of them stimulating respect for difference and encouraging that that difference  be embraced by the entire community.”

Former chairman of the B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation Commission’s Dr Paul Gardner said: “It has been an extraordinary week in the history of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission as two past chairmen, within days of each other, have been appointed to senior government positions in Victoria.

 John Searle was appointed as chair of the Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission and Grahame Leonard AM was appointed as a Commissioner of the Victorian Multicultural Commission.

Mr Searle served briefly as chair of the ADC in 2008 while Mr Leonard was the fifth chairman of the organisation, holding office from 1997 to 1999.

While both of these men were clearly appointed because of their extensive experience and professional competence in many different areas of community life,  the appointments also reflect well on the standing of B’nai B’rith’s human rights arm in the eyes of the Victorian state government.


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