Multicultural Communities Launch National Marriage Equality Campaign

23 May 2017


Key Points


  • Australian multicultural leaders including top chefs and business leaders have launched marriage equality campaign to support multicultural communities.
  • This is the first time culturally diverse communities have come together for marriage equality.
  • Information packages released in top eight most spoken languages in Australia
  • National marriage equality campaign partnering with communities to roll out religious and multicultural forums and events across the nation.


Multicultural communities and the Equality Campaign have joined forces to launch a national marriage equality campaign that showcases the support of multicultural and religious communities across the nation.

The campaign was launched by multicultural leaders including internationally renowned chef and business leaders who are voices representing their communities.

The material provided in eight languages will be rolled out across the nation in conjunction with multicultural religious forums that allow communities to engage in positive and respectful conversations about marriage equality.

The materials released will help supporters from multicultural backgrounds engage their family members and friends, which has been a challenge without resources in languages other than English.

Equality Campaign Executive Director, Tiernan Brady who also led the marriage equality campaign in Ireland, said, “The campaign will draw upon the support of multicultural communities who understand the importance of ensuring every Australian is equal and is afforded the same dignity and respect.

“This is why it is important to the Equality campaign to have partnered with communities to create and launch these new resources in the 8 most widely spoken languages in Australia; Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Hindi, Greek, Italian, Spanish and Korean.”

SBS Presenter Patrick Abboud said, “For many of us family is everything so the idea of coming out is daunting because the risk of losing family is so great.

“That’s why it’s more important than ever to reach these families and involve them in the fight for marriage equality. “It’s vital to help parents understand that their kids can be happily married to their partners and have that ‘traditional’ life most multicultural parents want for their children.

“They need to understand in their language on their terms that their LGBTI children, family and friends can be happily married and that this won’t take anything away from them."

Malaysian Indian Banker Kharishma D'souza who spoke at the launch said, “I want Australia to be a place where every mother and father is able to celebrate their child's wedding, no matter who they wish to marry.

Pastry Chef James Hsu said, “Marriage equality will take a lot of perseverance and compromise, but the end result is worth it to find harmony not just between couples but also between different cultures.”

Choreographer, Paul Cordeiro, said, "It's important to be part of this discussion and panel because we need to make people realise, politicians, lawmakers, religious groups and ourselves that we are not trying to take anything away from them but create equity for all which are part of basic human rights."

MEDIA: Clint McGilvray 0413 285 186 or Mike Fairbairn 0448 524 731

Speaker Bios

MC: Patrick Abboud

Pat is an award winning SBS journalist, presenter and documentary filmmaker. He gave birth to The Feed pitching the initial concept for the show. Pat has lived across Australia, Asia, the Middle East and Europe over the past 10 years reporting on everything from corruption to cosplay, politics to pop culture. Pat moonlights as a video journalist on SBS award winning international current affairs program Dateline. Often travelling alone on assignment he is a fearless and accomplished director, shooter, producer, presenter. With a keen interest in all things LGBTQI Pat also co-hosts and directs content for the SBS Mardi Gras broadcast and writes a regular column for the national gay news network.

Keynote Address: Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett - Psychologist, Middle Eastern community

LGBTI issues Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett is coloured by her Lebanese Muslim ancestry. Currently, Sekneh works in private practice providing therapy, consultancy, teaching and supervision. She has papers published, received media and parliamentary attention and given numerous talks both nationally and internationally exploring the relationship between sexuality, religiosity, and issues around gendered violence and racism. When not immersed in the therapeutic space, she is actively engaged in community advocacy roles. Sekneh enjoys the practitioners' space and revels with an innovative and collaborative blend of creativity, social justice activism and narrative therapy with the people and communities she meets. Sekneh believes her 'work is love made visible.'


Chris Yan - Head Chef, Lotus Barangaroo (formerly of Billy Kwong & China Doll)

Growing up in the Shanghainese countryside has deeply influenced Chris' style of cooking. Arriving in Australia in 1996, his skills impressed chef-royalty Kylie Kwong. Since then his culinary career has included cooking at iconic establishments Billy Kwong's and China Doll. When asked about his secret ingredients, he credits passion, memories and love. Chris' latest role is head chef of newly opened Darlinghurst restaurant Madame Shanghai, part of the Lotus Dining Group.

Paul Cordeiro - Nationally acclaimed choreographer and performer Of Singaporean heritage

Paul is an experienced teacher of 20 years, as well as a qualified fitness instructor. He trained at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Paul has enjoyed an extensive career as a dancer and choreographer, having performed with One Extra Dance Company, Opera Australia and the Balai ensemble. He has toured nationally with the musicals The King and I and West Side Story. Paul was the resident choreographer for The Lion King from 2003-2005 and was also the assistant choreographer for the “Nature and Arrivals” segment of the Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in 2000.

Kharishma D'souza - Malaysian Indian, banker

With a Malaysian-Indian background, Kharishma is a proud Aussie who is married with two beautiful children. At high school, she studied Indian classical dance and was entrusted with the stewardship of the Student Representative Council's Multicultural portfolio. With a successful banking career by day, her spare time is filled with culinary experiments inspired by Masterchef. A self-confessed "foodie" who has studied a cake decorating business course, Kharishma loves cooking an eclectic mix of Malaysian, Indian and Chinese cuisines for her family and friends. Her grandma and mother are her biggest influencers in her South Indian cooking style. During winter, her signature dish is a Chinese-style hotpot, better known in Malaysia as "steamboat."

James Hsu - Pastry Chef

Born in Singapore to Taiwanese-Chinese parents, James has called Sydney home since the age of 10. His life-long interest in food sciences and nutrition led him into academic research, achieving a Doctorate in food chemistry and microbiology (UNSW). This evolved into a passion for patisserie and completing the Grand Diploma in Cuisine and Patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu (Paris/Sydney). So his journey has taken him from the lab to the kitchen! James enjoys experimenting with food to create delicious cakes with unique presentations, and the most rewarding part is to see that other people enjoy it too.

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