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Multiculturalism Speech

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Category: Social Issues

Autor: anton 15 April 2011

Words: 652 | Pages: 3

The Multiculturalism Fairytale

Who are we in Australia? What are our social origins? How should these origins influence us today? How should we build upon them in shaping a better and more just future? Is the process to be one of steady evolution or noisy revolution?

This quote is from the late Australian politician Al Grassby, who was Minister for Immigration in the Whitlam government 1972. It was he, that introduced the word "multiculturalism" to Australian society. This speech is simply a tribute to multiculturalism.

Should we be thankful. I strongly believe so.

True story, I woke up one week ago on Tuesday, ready to sit for my Australian History assesment task, it was on Changing rights and freedoms-indigenous Australians and migrants. During the day apart from paniking, visiting the bathroom an unsual amount of times and attempting to do literal last minute cramming of dates and important events, I thought screw it, pardon my french I’m not going to remember anything a week later, this test has no impact on my life, it may on my grades but not on my life. Boy was I wrong because I wouldn’t be standing here, jokes aside, it was after the 55min of intense brain activity that I picked up my History textbook when one word hit me-multiculturalism. M-u-l-t-i-c-u-l-t-u-r-a-l-i-s-m. I had learnt something in Australian History.

What was it that made the word a magnet to my brain I think it was the realisation that I was hungry. Ladies and Gentleman, picture Castle Towers food court, Sidhus North Indian Express, Ho’s chinese dragon, MCP-Mexican Crepes and Potatoes, the greatly commercialised Pizza Hut and McDonalds, Alla Turca, Sushi Bar. Without people from all different parts of the world settling in Australia we would certainly not have the amount of choice avaliable to develop a fast food appetite. The changes to Australian society caused by multicultural influences are not confined to food. Across the country there are now many ethnic comminities that seek to preserve their cultural heritage. There are over 100 ethnic newspapers published in Australia in some forty different languages, and multicultural television (SBS) is avaliable as well as many ethnic programs on special radio stations.

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you all a fairy tale of our country.

Once upon a time and a long time ago, from the early days of white settlement until World War 11, Australians were mainly of British or Irish Background. After WW11 there was a deliberate policy to increase migration, and a large number of non-British migrants arrivedf. The official policy at the time was assimilation. The new arrivals of Australians were expected to accept the Australian way of life and to discard their own culture and traditions. The policy of assimilation gradually failed (crash and burn sound effect). It was accepted in time that it was better to preserve the different cultures of the people who had arrived in the country. As people from other backgrounds (Italians, Greeks, Poles, Maltese,Turks and others) began to maintain their identity, it became evident that Australia had in fact many cultures which all contrigbuted to the richness of Australian life.

The idea of multiculturalism has raised debate within Australia. There are some who critisize the concept and believe that Australia has become a “nation of tribes” and this could cause social division in the future and use the Cronulla Riots as evidence. Professor Geoff Blainey made many comments about multiculturalism which generated much discussion such as this point “many migrants were from different backgrounds that it might be hard for them to fit into Australian society. This is because Australian society is still the long-established Anglo-Celtic culture with a confetti of other ethnic groups”. The beauty of that is that we respect Prof. Blaineys’ view.

Fairytales do exist, they may not be quite perfect. But we are living in a form of one. Arigato, Merci, Komawa, Danke, Gracias, Bene, Thank You.

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