Australia’s multiculturalism 
Government Legislation and Policy Framework

Notes from RTF of speech to visit of PR China Ethnic Affairs delegation, Macquarie Fields TAFE 7 Dec 2009

What is multicultural(ism)?
A description of diversity — hundreds of languages, countries of origin, national and regional cultures
A policy framework which recognises diversity — can be hierarchical (some more important and powerful than others), or egalitarian (all treated equally) or segmentary (groups separated from each other by political or economic decisions)

Telling history — in Australia can have White European, or Black Indigenous, or non-White perspectives. Each asks different questions.
Foundation of Australia as nation (1901 – close to time of Chinese revolution of Sun Yat Sen)- 1st Act of government, to restrict immigration, especially from China.
Long period of rigid controls of non-White entry (“White Australia”).

A Chinese history of Australia
Harvest of Endurance
Making Multicultural Australia website

National Museum of Australia

Chronology of National Government Policies
1901-1966 White Australia – exclusion of most non-Whites; assimilation of settlers (single set of core Australian values and behaviour)
1966-1973 Integration – more non-Whites allowed in, especially well-educated and wealthy
1973 -1978 End of White Australia
1978 Adoption of multiculturalism as official policy
1978-1996 Multiculturalism encompasses Access and Equity
1996- Winding back multiculturalism

What do the leaders say?
Prime Ministers….

Key issues
Human rights
Language retention and acquisition
Social inclusion
Social mobility
Political participation
Media representation

Useful websites
Making Multicultural Australia

CulturalDiversity News


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