Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett returned to her native Australia on Sunday (18DEC05) to appeal for calm following the recent race riots in Sydney.

Lebanese-Australians have been clashing with white-Australians on the beaches of the New South Wales city, leading to a heavy police presence in the suburbs over the past two weeks (begs10DEC05).

Speaking at Sydney's Coogee Beach on Sunday, The Aviator beauty spoke out against the riots and urged unity amongst the divided communities.

Blanchett said, "It's actually very clear and simple. Violence and racism are bad. Whenever they occur they are to be condemned (and) we should not turn a blind eye to them.

"It's about respect. Respect for others, respect for the rights of others and respect of the rights of everyone to go about their lives in a peaceful way."