Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale has spoken at the National Day of Unity launch at Parliament House, calling on the community, the Government and the Opposition to build social cohesion to counter violent extremism, not drive fear with more divisive legislation.
"I know some of the mothers here today are fearing for their children. Right now. Let's resist that. Let's recognise that prevention is the way we build a unified and harmonious nation," Senator Di Natale said to the gathered faith and political leaders.
"We have to resist some of the seemingly more obvious but often counterproductive responses, like arbitrarily detaining young people.
"Rather than dividing us, multiculturalism brings us together because it compels us to be clear about the values that unite us: respect for our democratic institutions, for universal human rights, for a common purpose and shared understanding of what it means to be a fair and just and decent society.
"It's more than just having a laksa or lasagne or whatever your bent might be. It's a notion that enriches all of us, and our story - the Australian story - is much richer because of it.
"We need to make sure that we look at why young people are being caught up in some of these acts of extremism. The social isolation, the disconnection, the marginalisation that exists amongst some of our young people.
"My heart sings when I see the many different cultures, ethnicities and religions that make up the rich tapestry that is the Australian nation.
"We are better because of you, because of families like mine and yours that have chosen to make Australia their home.
"Know that you have an ally in protecting your communities from vilification, from social isolation, and in tackling head on those misplaced fears that many people would use against different cultures and religions, and let's celebrate. Let's celebrate the great thing that is Australian multiculturalism because we are a better nation for it."