Summary

Paper flag with the slogan 'Many cultures: One community' it was handed out during the Walk for Harmony event in Melbourne on 12 July 2009. The 2009 Walk for Harmony was led by Labour Premier John Brumby to reaffirm Victoria's support for multiculturalism. This initiative was developed in response to Indian student protests in Sydney and Melbourne at the end of May and beginning of June 2009. The Walk began at Carlton Gardens at 1pm, continued along Latrobe and Swanston streets in Melbourne's CBD, and culminated at Federation Square with a free half an hour concert.

Over 5000 people participated in the walk, including Scottish bagpipers, Macedonian and Brazilian dancers and a Chinese Falun Dafa marching band. During the walk several Indian students marched in symbolic protest with their mouths covered by masks. The Federation of Indian Students of Australia said they were protesting against the state government's attempt to play down racially motivated attacks against Indian students.

Physical Description

Glossy paper flag on a white hollow plastic stick. One side of the paper is orange with three people shapes in red, white and pink on the right hand side with the City of Melbourne and state government of Victoria logos in the bottom left hand corner in white. One the white side are the three people shapes in red, white and pink on the left hand side.

Significance

This flag has historical significance as a representation of early 21st century racial politics in Victoria. It helps to highlight advocacy for social justice, equality and diversity in response to racial tensions in the state. In particular, the flag was used in the 2009 Walk for Harmony in Melbourne, which officially promoted multiculturalism and acceptance of cultural diversity. This event has also been called a cynical public relations exercise used to dilute Indian student protests against racism in May and June of the same year. During 2009 both the state and Australian governments were accused of advocating multicultural activities to protect international student revenue (the country’s third largest revenue earner) over international students’ safety, equality and rights.

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