Multiculturalism and the Benefits of Migration in Australia Essay - 1668 Words

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Multiculturalism and the Benefits of Migration in Australia

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Text Preview Australian Parliament Joint Standing Committee on Migration Submission No. 3

MULTICULTURALISM AND THE BENEFITS OF MIGRATION IN AUSTRALIA

SUBMISSION:
Committee Secretary, Joint Standing Committee on Migration House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

NH

28 February, 2011

The beginnings of white migration and multiculturalism in Australia saw our British forefathers arriving in boats on the shores of the “land down under”. Boat loads of prisoners – reluctant migrants - from an overflowing British penal system were brought to Australia to be used for punishment and labour, and settlements were established in and around places and rivers that had been home to the original aboriginal inhabitants for 40,000 – 60,000 years as bases to search for land-holdings. The new arrivals had no comprehension of the original inhabitants’ deep spiritual connection with the land around them, or of their prodigious knowledge of climatology, botany, astronomy, hydrology, ecology, zoology, mythology, ornithology, to name a very few. Without this knowledge of the complexity of aboriginal kinship structures, strict laws, the dreaming and the differences between the hundreds of societies on the mainland and in Tasmania, the aboriginals’ ancient customs and knowledge were not acknowledged and certainly not respected or seen as a possible source of learning for the newcomers. The land, to which those remaining are joined and of which they are a part, was taken by force for settlement and the establishment of commerce, in a push towards a different way of being – the mercantile system. The newcomers’ attempted solution to the “native problem” was to try to force the aboriginal people to either disappear entirely, or to become like, live like, and think like the newcomers. Labour, a source of profit, was hard to come by in the rural areas and some aboriginals did manage to stay on their own land by working for pastoralists in following years, until mechanization and equal wages legislation arrived in the mid-1960s. The 1850s gold rushes attracted ex-convicts and migrants, including British, Irish, Continental Europeans, North Americans, Chinese, and Afghanis who ferried supplies by camel to central Australia around this time. Other multicultural groups, such as Greek and Italian migrants, established thriving communities, although there are no communities of Afghani people descended from the cameleers remaining today. Immigration was one of the first national policies to be formally signed off in colonial Australia - always prominent in the Australian psyche. In 1988, the State premiers met in Sydney to finalize uniform

legislation against non-white immigrants, and the White Australia Policy came into being. Despite this official policy, Australia was to become and remain, one of the most multiethnic/multicultural nations in the world. Now in 2011, 123 years later, a recent United Nations meeting on human rights in Geneva has recommended that Australia needs to address its racism, indigenous rights, lack of a Human Rights Act, its controversial mandatory detention of asylum seekers and its lack of a strong multicultural policy. There were 145 recommendations in all from the international community, but we won’t be reading much about it in the media, or about the fact that Australia rejected the main recommendation - the pressing need for a federal human rights charter. There have always been contradictions and emotion around the policy of multiculturalism in Australia. Its direction is often inconsistent and influenced by the government of the day, and by public opinion which is shaped by the corporate media. Underlying these factors is the dominant Anglo culture, and now there is also a mind-set wherein terrorists are everywhere just waiting for their chance, and dissent is not dissent but a prelude to treason. Although the acceptance of multiculturalism and the elimination of race in immigration selection... Show More

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