The Pros And Cons Of Multiculturalism In Australia

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Australia is a settler nation which is now made up of many ethnic groups who share similar cultural traditions, common language, shared history and a shared identity (ABS, 2016). These groups contribute to what is referred to multiculturalism. Australia has a higher proportion of people born overseas than the US, Canada and the UK, with 49% of Australia’s population (or a parent) being born overseas (Census of Population and Housing, 2016). Compared to other Western nations, Australia has one of the most diverse immigration populations (Collins, 2013, p. 145). The meaning of multiculturalism in Australia has changed significantly over time. Today, Australia is a culturally and ethnically diverse country and therefore is a multicultural society. In terms of public policy, multiculturalism can be defined as policies and practices implemented by the Australian government that aim to manage cultural diversity to benefit the whole of society (Department of Social Services, 2014). Although Australia is a multicultural society, there are criticisms of public policy surrounding multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism has evolved and changed over time to become more inclusive of minority groups. From federation to the mid twentieth century the ‘White Australia Policy’ was enforced. This policy aimed to limit non-European migrants to enter Australia to preserve ‘white Australia’. The dictation test was also prevalent up until 1958 (Robertson, Hohmann, & Stewart, 2005, p. 241). This test
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