Multicultural Australia: Australia’s Immigration History and Current Political Debate
Word Count: 1,491
People have always come to Australia through immigration. Whether it be 45,000 years ago via nomadic boats (Broome, 1994) or through the efforts of the British Empire to expand their Anglican empire (Ferguson, 2003). As a result modern Australia is a composite of many varying cultures and ethnicities. It is often said that Australia is a multicultural society (Peake, 2012) but what exactly does this mean, and how true of a statement is it? In the literal sense the term multicultural refers to a society relating to or containing several cultural or ethnic groups (Oxford Dictionary Online, 2013). In the context of Australia it is seen as being a term that describes the diverse cultural and ethnic makeup of contemporary Australia (Dept. Immigration and Citizenship, 2013). For the purpose of this paper we will adopt Bowen’s definition (2011) that multiculturalism embraces our shared values and cultural traditions within Australia’s established society, while protecting the rights of Australians to practice their cultural and ethnic traditions and heritage. But that hasn’t always been the way in Australia.
WHITE AUSTRALIA AND ASSIMILATION
The first significant cultural issues centred around migration arose in the colonies around the 1850s. The discovery of gold enticed a greater level of immigration from Chinese. Friction between the existing population and the new immigrants soon arose as result of significant linguistic and cultural barriers, as well as the economic threat to the Anglo colonial prospectors (Ngai, 2012). Eventually restrictions were imposed on Chinese immigration by the Victorian and New South Wales colonies (Dept. Immigration and Citizenship, 2013). Similar racial immigration problems were being faced in the Queensland colony. There South Pacific Islanders, known as Kanakas, had been brought in as a slave labour workforce (Philipoom, 2007). Again the economics of the situation formed the basis for the conflict between the immigrant population and the Anglo colonialists Both of these major incidents would prove influential in the newly formed country’s first act of parliament, the Immigration Restriction Act 1901. Based on legislation passed in the African colony of Natal the Act established a means test for potential immigrants designed to discriminate against what was perceived as ‘undesirable’ (Martens, 2006). Effectively the policy codified discrimination based on immigrants’ ethnicity. For many reasons this “White Australia” policy would later be considered one of Australia’s greatest ever mistakes (Australian Institute of Public Affairs, 2006).
The act was very much centred on Australia’s perspective of assimilation towards immigrants (Zeldenryk and Yalmambirra, 2006). At the time the legislation was justified by the socio-ethnic perspective that “Whites” were inherently superior (Kamp, 2010) and that preservation of the colonialist’s white heritage was paramount to the success of the nation (Kamp, 2010). For that -reason all immigrants were expected to largely abandon their previous ethnic and cultural practices in favour of those held by Australia.
Following the conflicts of World War II Australia became aware of their need to “populate or perish”, a term coined by Arthur Calwell (Time, 1952). The realisation was that Australia population disparity compared with their Pacific neighbours left them vulnerable. The policy of assimilation softened to one of integration whereby migrants were encouraged to still maintain their own cultural identity, while adopting the values of Australia (Mann, 2013). Immigration was opened up to allow more Europeans to settle within Australia but there was still an emphasis on maintaining a society with a white homogeneity (Morn, 2005). The UN’s push to eliminate racial...
...Australian Parliament Joint Standing Committee on Migration Submission No. 3
MULTICULTURALISM AND THE BENEFITS OF MIGRATION IN AUSTRALIA
Committee Secretary, Joint Standing Committee on Migration House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600
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...
...Multiculturalism in Australia
‘Assimilation’ was the official term used to describe government policy for migrants settling in Australia in the immediate postwar period. The basic idea was that, as soon as practicable, migrants should become part of the Australian way of life and be treated in the same way as other Australians. That would entail getting a job, finding a house, settling into the local community and eventually becoming Australian citizens. They mostly come from United Kingdom, New Zealand, India, China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), South Africa, Philippines, Malaysia, Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand. These kind of differences make Australia get into a multiculturalism society.
They come to Australian with their own cultural identity. Cultural identity is the sense of belonging and attachment to a particular way of living associated with the historical experience of a particular group of people. Multiculturalism exists where one society embraces groups of people with different cultural identities. Not only the diverse of language, but also social-economic background, religion, and habitual.
The multicultural nature of Australian society has implications for education that go far beyond the concept of child migrant education, which was concerned with education for a multicultural society apply to all children, not just children of non-English speaking background,...
...II because their culture has directly influenced the main stream of Australia’s culture.
“The term ‘multiculturalism has served the Australian community well and best describes our positive acceptance of the reality and significance of our cultural diversity and the proactive approach to addressing the challenges and opportunities arising from it.” (National Multicultural Advisory Council, 1999) Multiculturalism is a term that was introduced into the political bureaucratic language decades ago, and it has since become synonymous with diversity and tolerance in Australia. As well as this, it is important to acknowledge that Australia has not always been tolerant of ethnic or linguistic diversity in the past. Australia is and will remain a multicultural society. From 1945 to 1949, Australia established the Federal Department of Immigration and thereby launched a large scale immigration program. Australia was in urgent need of a larger population for the purposes of defence and development. It is hypothesised that migrant cultures have significantly contributed to Australian society since World War II because their culture has directly influenced the main stream of Australia’s culture. Social order, economy, culture, economics and prosperity have considerably contributed and shaped Australian society in the modern day and throughout the years. “While Australian...
...programs with music in our language. And my son will get a high school credit just for speaking his mother tongue!”
- A newcomer to mAnitobA’s KoreAn community
Please contact the Multiculturalism Secretariat for more information about:
• the Ethnocultural Community Support Fund and other funding sources • capacity building workshops and training sessions • opportunities to work collaboratively with other community associations • community economic development initiatives within ethno-cultural communities • opportunities to participate in citizenship promotion and anti-racism activities
Past. Present. Future.
Multiculturalism is rooted in our past, lives in our present and sets the direction for our future. It embodies the hundreds of languages we speak, the festivals we enjoy and the traditions and values we teach our children. Most important, it reminds us that diversity and tolerance provide us with unity and strength.
Sharing Our Cultures
Manitoba Immigration and Multiculturalism 9th Floor - 213 Notre Dame Ave. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 1N3 Phone: 204-945-5632 E-mail: [email protected] Website: manitoba.ca/immigration/multiculturalismMulticulturalism Secretariat
Sharing Our Cultures. Shaping Our Future.
Each year, thousands of people from around...
...Benefit of Multiculturalism
Since the 1960s, the American government has admitted cultural diversity in American and encouraged the equality for everyone no matter which race they are or which sex they are. The world nowadays knows America as a multicultural country. So what is multiculturalism? It is
According to United State Bureau, the population of Houston in 2010 is 2, 145, 146 people included 50.5 % white people, 23.7% black people, 6.0 Asian people, 0.7 % American Indian and Alaska Native people, 25.6 % white people but not Hispanic, 43.8 % people of Hispanic or Latino origin, 0.1 % Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander. So with the variety of ethnicity, Houston is listed of multicultural city in American. Moreover, Houston is also an international city in American because there are a lot international business here such as Texas medical center, international airport, port of Houston, border on Mexico and oil and gas.
However, the society seem doesn’t want to accept that we have many people from other culture which want to keep pace with American. There are facts that racism strongly exists in the community and stop other people to express themselves in public or make them feel uncomfortable and ashamed because they are not White. In Anzaldua’s essay “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, she condemns the unfair treatment because her accent when she speak English and because of speaking Spanish in her class.
...Has Multiculturalism in Canada Lost Its Way? Now that multiculturalism has become a popular concept, it is time for us to add more meat to the bone and expand on what it means to Canada to be a multicultural society. While most Canadians highlight our multicultural character as a virtue, it continues to mean different things to different people.Multiculturalism is the recognition that while Canadians share equal rights and responsibilities, they come with diverse cultural backgrounds where each is entitled to practice their faith freely and take pride in their heritage .Multicultural critics think of multiculturalism as an enabler to ghettoize our communities where Canadians are discouraged from integrating with "mainstream" society. Other critics even see it as a threat to "Canadian Identity. "Such discussions are necessary within any confident society. The idea of building a harmonious nation with various cultures, faiths and races is tricky and requires a lot of delicate effort.
Government multicultural policies should focus on building common spaces that promote cultural understanding and foster respect. Policies that nurture interaction between the various communities will reduce suspicion and finger-pointing .One of the other benefits of multiculturalism is that it acts as a filter. Practices that don't afford respect to other Canadians including women, LGBTs, other faiths and cultures cannot be condoned...
...her to marry him, and this shows that they are engaged. People think of Easter in connection with spring and new life. Christians all over the world remember the death of Jesus Christ on His resurrection.
Multiculturalism is the acceptance of multiple ethnic cultures at the organizational level. This is applied to the demographic makeup of a country, where people from different religious backgrounds, countries, and tradition are given equitable status in schools, neighborhoods, cities, and nations. In the 19th century, America experienced massive immigration, which is one of the most important features of American society. This has given rise to multiculturalism in America.
This originated in the 1950s, during the civil rights movement. The movement brought on surface the issues regarding discrimination, inequality, and oppression. People placed their demands on political and social institutions for their social recognition. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, George Washington Carver, Charles H. Wesley, W.E.B. DuBoi, and William James played an instrumental role in promoting multiculturalism in the United States, and espoused the idea of a 'plural society'.
In America, multiculturalism is still not a prominent policy established at the federal level. The efforts of these prominent figures in promoting an egalitarian society in America gave rise to a new wave...
Comparison of Ethnic Stratification in Australia and the United States
SOC308: Racial & Ethnic Groups
Dr. J Kipp
September 1, 2014
Comparison of Ethnic Stratification in Australia and the United States
Australia is a large continent located between the Indian Ocean and the South
Pacific Ocean. Its climate is generally dry to semi dry, with a temperate climate in the
south and east, and a tropical climate in the north. The terrain is mostly low plateaus with
deserts and a fertile plain in the southeast. It is the world’s smallest continent, but the
sixth largest country by total area. The country is made up of the Australian continent,
the island of Tasmania, and several smaller islands. It is the sixth largest country in the
world, comprising three basic ethnic groups. Whites make up 92% of the population, Asians seven percent, and aboriginal and other groups comprise just one percent of the population. Both countries are culturally diverse and, to a degree, embrace multiculturalism. Although quite similar in ethnicity, the United States and Australia have different approaches to ethnic stratification and both could benefit from studying the mistakes each has made in order to achieve true ethnic harmony, equality and multiculturalism for both countries.
Because Australians tend to embrace...