Is Australia’s multicultural society a success?

by Ray Clancy on March 18, 2013

in Australia Immigration

Citizenship holds together a culturally diverse population, says minister

Is Australia’s multicultural society a success?

Australia has a vibrant multicultural society with access to citizenship at the heart of its success, according to the findings of the Migration Committee report published today. The report found that Australian multiculturalism is a success story, and stands as a good example to the world on how to build a cohesive society.

‘Immigration and settlement in Australia has always been a nation building exercise. The committee believes that access to Australian citizenship has been at the heart of the success and cohesion of Australian society,’ said chair of the Migration Committee Maria Vamvakinou. ‘Settlement is a long term and intergenerational process, and we need a whole of government approach and better coordination between all three tiers of Australian government,’ she added.

The report is the result of two years of work which involved 27 public hearings across the country and it received over 500 submissions. It makes 32 recommendations for keeping Australian immigration and integration in good health. ‘Since its introduction in the 1970s Australia’s policy of multiculturalism has shaped Australia’s identity and supported our development as a multi-racial, harmonious and cohesive society,’ the report says.

‘While the concept of multiculturalism has been subject to debate and review over time, Australia’s non-discriminatory migration system supports cultural diversity. A commitment to multiculturalism to manage this diversity, within the framework of Australian values and laws, has had the broad support of Australian governments for over 30 years,’ it adds.

Figures show that in 2010, Australia was one of the world’s top three culturally diverse nations. When Australians with one or both parents born overseas are included nearly 45% of the population has a close overseas connection. Today, over 260 languages are spoken in Australia, by people of 270 different ancestries. Census data shows that more than half of recent arrivals since 2006 speak both another language and English either very well or well. The report says that this language diversity gives Australia a competitive edge in an increasingly transnational world.

Quote from AustraliaForum.com : “Australian footballers from a wide range of international backgrounds are helping people from other countries to settle into their communities when they arrive in the country.”

In 2011/2012, the total number of people conferred citizenship in Australia was 95,776, up from 85,916 in 2010/2011. Australia now has one of the highest take up rates of citizenship among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, with nearly 80% of the Australian population being citizens.

The General Migration Programme provides the largest visa intake in Australia. During 2011/2012, a total of 184,998 entrants came in under this stream of which 68% entered as skilled migrants and 31.7% as family members. While numbers from the UK have recently increased, Australia now receives more skilled migrants from India, China, the Middle East and West or South Asia. The report says that this global trend reflects the change in the migration environment where skill markets are now international and both rich and poor are more mobile than they have been in the past.

It points out that within this context, Australia’s migration policies are designed to attract the best skilled migrants to fill labour shortages, to build business and to boost population. The numbers accepted depend on annually adjusted quotas set by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) in response to changing global and domestic trends and needs.

‘In the Committee’s opinion, multiculturalism is an indisputable success story for Australia. The policy has contributed to the transformation of Australia from a small, insular community with a colonial mindset to a sophisticated and cosmopolitan nation that can engage with the region and the world on its own terms,’ the report concludes.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Glorfindel March 19, 2013 at 7:30 am

Immigration has been a success story for Australia, but not Multiculturalism. As soon as we stgopped placing value on the cultural values of the majority culture, and tolerated or ignored behaviours and practices of particular immigrant groups which were against the law, or repugnant to our core values, we imported a problem. Very many of the submissions to the Migration Committee's inquiry into Multiculturalism pointed to the failure of a significant part of the Islamic community to integrate, or even to respect the values of the host culture. it is sheer madness to ignore the lessons of the Cronulla riot of 2005 and the Muslim riot in Sydney in September 2012.

Selective or "culturally sensitive" policing has been a flagrant abrogation of the Rule of Law – one law for ALL – and it has endangered the safety and security of all of us.

Multiculturalism – giving lots of respect o minority cultures while denying the values and claims of the majority culture – is a good example of replacing what worked well (our immigration policies and practices up to the early 1970s) with what SOUNDED good. it is politically correct madness and betrayal of the national interest in social cohesion.

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Chris March 23, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Did the British settlers (I presume you are a descendant of them) respect the majority of the indigenous people that inhabited this place for thousands of years? Did the Brits integrate to what used to be the local cultural values or just wiped everything out?

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