Multiculturalism and the Benefits of Migration in Australia

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Australian Parliament Joint Standing Committee on Migration Submission No. 3


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 –
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One Australia called for an end to multiculturalism – and also opposed a treaty with aboriginal Australians for good measure. To this end, funding to the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Bureau of Immigration and Multicultural and Population Research was withdrawn and funding to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, SBS and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission was severely cut. During the last decade changes were made to the Migration Act restricting the rights of asylum seekers, and bitterly controversial anti-

terror legislation was introduced. National security became the basis for social justice policy development in Australia - drawing heavily on the United States model - wherein law and order, militarisation and security politics take top priority. This ignores the fact that most people don’t like or want “security” as the US perceives it. The struggle against racism and the encouragement of multiculturalism in Australia requires a change in attitudes and behaviour at all levels, but logic alone won’t change people’s feelings. Whereas some people are naturally attracted to diversity and find new and different cultures, traditions and experiences enlightening and interesting, others find diversity a threat and look with suspicion and
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