Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM | Harmony Week

[Emma]: Hello Dinesh, thank you so much for joining me this afternoon. Before we start, I wanted to say congratulations on making a Queensland Australian of the year. You must be very proud!

[Dinesh]: It felt amazing! And thank you for having a chat to me. I feel very privileged!

[Emma]: Thank you! Would you mind telling us when you first migrated to Australia?

[Dinesh]: We landed here in Australia on my 10th Birthday. And coming to Australia
was a super special experience. Because it was my first time on an aeroplane. It was my first time experiencing the change of seasons. It was my first time experiencing
all these amazing things. Like these huge big supermarkets, and seeing the Harbour Bridge.

And I remember eating a Lamington for the first time.

[Emma]: Oh my god! they’re so good, aren’t they?

[Dinesh]: They are so good!

[Emma]: Was it with jam inside or just chocolate on the outside?

[Dinesh]: No, I don’t believe in having jam inside the Lamingtons.

[Emma]: Fantastic!

Growing up, what were you most proud of as an Australian?

[Dinesh]: I just love this country, honestly! I feel like we are so lucky to live here. And it would be pretty hard to pick one thing to be proud of.

[Emma]: I agree!

[Dinesh]: I mean one of the things is obviously that we came here from a different country. This nation accepted us and it allowed us to have a try at life. And that’s what this country is about, right? It’s a fair go for everyone. We have free healthcare.

11 years ago, I had a car accident that changed my life. Initially I was just in an intensive care bed. I couldn’t breathe or eat or lift my arms or talk. I spent a lot of time thinking about the person that I want to be when I came out of it. And I thought long and hard about values like integrity and respect. And the value of community.

So that is something that I take with me forward every day. Because now I try to support people as much as I can. And I try to give back!

[Emma]: You should be proud of that! That’s fantastic!

What message would you like to get across to everybody this Harmony Week?

[Dinesh]: We live in an amazing country. We live in this rich society, and it is peaceful and prosperous. And we have everything! But what makes us truly rich is the diversity that’s within it. All the different types of people that contribute to this society. And I want us to give everyone a chance to be a part of society and to make it better!

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On Thursday 29 February 2024 the Australian Values Program and its online engagement channels will be closed. We would like to thank everyone who shared their stories or engaged with the Australian Values Program in its three years of operation through the website, X, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

The values will continue to hold their place in our diverse and inclusive community through other initiatives, as well as playing an integral part of the visa application process and Australian Citizenship test. For more info visit the Australian Values page.