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Defining Ethnicity and Religious Diversity

Question:

1. Critically discuss the conceptions of Australian national identity presented in two Australian films or television series produced after 2001.  
2. ' Australia is located in Asia but has never been part of Asia’. Critically assess the validity of this statement in relation to Australia since the 1970s.  
AIX290-390 Field Report & Essay Assessment        
3. Why has economic inequality increased in Australia since the 1970s? What have been the consequences of this increase for the quality of life in Australia?   
4. How have patterns of ethnic and religious diversity changed in Australia since the 1970s? How have governments responded to these changes?   
5. Compare and contrast Australian attitudes towards immigration with ONE of the United States or Korea or another country in East Asia.  
6. ‘The Australian response to asylum-seekers demonstrates that racism is alive and well in Australia.’ Do you agree?  
7. Compare and contrast the Australian experience of carbonpricing with ONE of the United States, Korea, Peoples’ Republic of China or another country in East Asia  8. How have indigenous Australians challenged the Australian nation-state since the 1970s? How has the settler majority responded to their demands?   
9. Why and how has Sydney gained an international reputation as a centre of gay life?   
10. Why has the cause of marriage equality been more successful in the United States than in Australia?  
11. Compare and contrast the significance of religion in Australian life with its significance with ONE of the United States, Korea or another country in East Asia.  
12. ‘The experience of Julia Gillard as Prime Minister demonstrated that sexism is alive and well in Australia.’ Do you agree?  
13. What are the similarities and differences between the Australian Labor Party and the American Democrats?
AIX290-390 Field Report & Essay Assessment         

14. What are the similarities and differences between the Liberal and National parties and the American Republicans?

Introduction:

In recent scenario, it is evident that the there is existence of cross-cultures in every nation. There is more cultural dependence of various communities and the interrelatedness has increased significantly especially after the globalisation. Nowadays, there is cultural variation in each and every nation. It can be said that historically the conflicts among various races and ethnic groups are evident. It is evident that, as the time passed such conflicts were resolved in the society and it led to more democratic system in various societies (wiliam, 2015). In recent decades multi-culturism is one of the recognised words by the academics, social commentators and the policy makers. It is evident that Australia is one of the countries where such changes have been evident and the patterns of ethnic and religious diversity has changed in the country in the past few decades (Collins, 2013). The main aim of this essay is to critically discuss the changes ethnic and religious diversity in Australia since 1970s. Before, going through the changes in ethnic and religious diversity, it is important to understand both the terms very well. It is noted that O’Sullivan (2014) defined the ethnic group or ethnicity as a specific category of people who recognize with each other on the basis of widespread inherited, communal, educational or nationwide experience. On the other hand, the term religious diversity can be explained from various angles such as from psychosomatic, anthropological, or chronological point of views. The present argument, nevertheless, will emphasize itself principally with several key aspects adjacent to religious diversity, in particular systematic thinker of religious conviction, are most apprehensive at present (O’Sullivan, 2014).  Here, the study also discussed how the government has responded to such changes.

Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Australia

Changes in Ethnic and Religious Diversity in Australia since 1970s:

It is evident that there has been cultural and ethnic diversity in Australia and it has changed significantly in the past few decades. Here it can be said that 1995 is the International Year of Tolerance as designated by the United Nations and it reflected on the multi-cultural nature in Australia. It is evident that various cultures have evolved in Australia without any major problems that are seen in other countries (Australia.gov.au, 2015). There are several measures that can be used to show different characteristics of the religious, cultural and ethnic diversity of Australia. There is certain degree of controversy that is evident in the country as well.

One of the difficulties that were faced in the country was in terms of locating the ethnicity of the people. Australian censuses on the birthplaces and the religion can present limited problems that were mainly caused by changing boundaries over time. In the past, it was declared by most Australians the adherence to a specific denomination which was usually Catholic or Protestant. The educational welfare agencies and churches were more interested in the religious data but in recent times the exclusiveness of the denominations were not so rigid as non-Christian denominations were also expanded in Australia. The ethnic strength and the concentration can be measured by the ethnic birthplace and religious data. In the following table the number of first generation and second generation people with English speaking and non-English speaking background in 1991 (Forrest and Dunn, 2011).

Source: (Abs.gov.au, 2015)

It is evident that people from various migration countries have come in Australia and that has produced the second generation in the country. The groups mainly include people from Austria, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Italy, and United Kingdom. The second generation basically outnumbers the first.

Here it can be said that the new millennium began in Australia with a large and diverse population base. There has been 5% increase in the residents who are born overseas. It is also evident that there has been a decline in the Australia born residents. Recently, the flow of people in Australia having a birthplace of United Kingdom is 5.5%. Around 6.3% of the people in Australia are born in the Middle-east, North Africa and Asia. Thus there has been significant cultural diversity is Australia since 1970s.

The ethnic composition of the country changed significantly, especially after the Second World War. After the War, the number of migrated people entering Australia from various countries increased. In 1947, most of the people migrated in Australia were from English-speaking countries (White, 2009). Since 1971, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were included in the consensus. After 1971, the diversity in the ethnic groups increased significantly. The mixed descents were also classified in other racial category due to high historic obsession with race even though they were quite assimilated in the mainstream. In order to come in the recent census enumeration, indigenous people chose to categorise themselves as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin (migrationpolicy.org, 2002). Here it can be said that the size of ethnic groups cannot be determined definitely elastic ethnic group concept. In the emigration situation there is an element of choice and the difference is between the non-citizens and citizens. In 1973, the racial classification of immigration was abandoned by Australian government as there was no reason for the ethnic group limitation (O’Sullivan, 2014).

There were changing trends of finding the surrogate for ethnicity. At first it was birthplace which became the unsatisfactory measure, after that it was assessed by religion. In 1976, language was the main measure of ethnicity. In the following table, some of the ethnicities in terms of birthplace, religion and language are shown.

Source: (Abs.gov.au, 2015)

Government Responses to Ethnic and Religious Diversity in Australia

There are various dimensions of ethnicities and after 1991; self-identification was included in the Census for the aboriginal people (Unesco.org, 2015). In Australia, it was seen that the ethnic minorities and specific group of people concentrated in particular areas and it was often termed as ghettos. Now the government responses to the ethnic and religious diversity can be discussed.

Government Responses to the ethnic and religious diversity in Australia

Since the very origin as a strategic structure the response towards the needs of the immigrants the ethnic and the religious diversities have become a notion that sensed the growing cultural diversity in the society especially during the later part of the twentieth century. However, this multi-cultural and ethnic diversity has been generally contested and hence have been very controversial and scrutinized with respect to the security and the social disputes prevalent in the beginning of the twenty-first century (Roy, 2012).

In Australia the first Department of Immigration was established in 1945. Since then the government was focused on the policies relating to the settlement of the immigrants and public discourse due to this (ZAPPALA, 1998). As a result of this the multicultural diversity in the Australian society fluctuated and the emphasis shifted from assimilating and integrating to multi-cultural diversity. Nevertheless in recent times the shift has again focused to assimilation.

Towards the end of 1960s, the policies of the government had already shifted towards integration and awareness spread on the difficulties which the new immigrants faced. The government also attempted to make such policies that would support the immigrants to successfully integrate in the Australian society without the fear of losing their national identity (Neale, Kleinert and Bancroft, 2000). Internationally there were countries that were widely welcoming the immigrants in their countries such as Canada. As a result of this during 1970s the acceptance of these multi-cultures in the Australian society increased to a large extent.

One critical feature of the cultural and ethnic relation in these countries is the treatment rendered on the Indigenous people and their present stature and position in these states (Smolicz, 1984). For instance the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is a recognized organization that discusses on the multi-cultural issues and state that these issues should necessarily include the indigenous tribes of Australia and their reconciliation matters (Bottomley, 1976).

When these strategies on multicultural issues were first introduced in the federal level in the country, the governments of the state and the territories also develop their individual laws on the subject.

 Most of the work relating to the indigenous tribes is now done by the state and territories and the ground level work is done by the community organizations and the Non-governmental organizations.

During the 1970s, as stated earlier, more stress was given on integration rather than on assimilation. Later focus was also laid on the challenges that the immigrants are facing while trying to settle in the Australian society. During the 1960s the racial restrictions on immigration was eased and in 1973 a policy on universal admissions to end White Australia was announced. Further in 1975 the Commonwealth Parliament enacted a Racial Discrimination Act, the objective of which was to implement the provisions given under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1969) that endorsed the prohibition of racial and other forms of discrimination to which Australia was a party (Bottomley, 1976).

In the year 1973 a speech was given by Al Grassby, the Minister of Immigration under the Whitlam Government, where the minister stated that multiculturalism was a fundamental for the settlement of migrants and their welfare.

Again in 1977, the Australian Population and Immigration Council received a submission on Australia was a Multicultural society. The Australian Ethnic Affairs Council coined the first official definition of multiculturalism and called it cultural pluralism based on the principles of social cohesion, equal opportunity and cultural identity.

The Galbally Report on the Review of Post-Arrival Programs and Services to Migrants produced in 1978 saw a shift in the strategic structures of the government with respect to the settlement of the migrants that led to the cultural and linguistic diversity (Forrest and Dunn, 2011). The Fraser Government adopted the Galbally Report recommendations, as result of which the settlement services were expanded which included teaching English, accommodation, orientation, translation services, recognition of overseas qualifications and establishing resource centers.

When the Hawke Labor Government was ruling they introduced cuts in the programs of the government during 1980s which included the abolition of AIMA in 1986. Nevertheless, the government did introduce some more multicultural policies and initiatives for instance improvement of the government services and programs for people who cannot speak English and the government also established the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC).

During the 1980s, the number of immigrants in the country increased to a great extent primarily due to the arrivals of the people from the Asian and other Middle-Eastern countries. The Committee to Advise on Australia's Immigration Policies released a report in this context with the name ‘Immigration: a Commitment to Australia’ which stated about the urgent need for reforms in the immigration arena (Moran, 2011).

In 1996, the federal election was won by the Coalition Government led by John Howard who was a critic of multiculturalism for a number of years. Hence when this government came to power it started abolishing the primary agencies such as the OMA, the BIMPR, the ADEP, the unemployment benefits, the consultations with the ethnic organizations and the other public sector reforms that were available to the immigrants (White, 2009).

These actions led to a lot of public criticism and finally in 1997 the Howard Government appointed organization NMAC announced for leadership to defend multiculturalism in the report “Australian Multiculturalism for a New Century: Towards Inclusiveness” (White, 2009).

Later in 2007, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's (HREOC) came up with a position paper on multiculturalism. Laurie Ferguson who was known as the Shadow Minister of Multiculturalism had stated that the vision a multicultural Australia is constant with the objectives of respect, friendship and understanding with the ethnic and cultural groups of Australia and the government would also take necessary steps to remove racial discrimination (Collins, 2013).

In 2008 the Rudd Government created the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council (AMAC) which provided advice to the government on a variety of approaches to promote social unity, discourage racism and intolerance (Collins, 2013).

Conclusion

In conclusion it can be said that the ethnic, cultural and religious diversity in Australia has been significant in the past few decades. Since 1970s diversity and the cross-cultural integration has increased majorly. It is evident that the opportunities and facilities to diverse ethnic groups have increased with time due to the government intervention. The contemporary view of the ethnic and cultural diversity in the Australian society has been primarily shaped by the pubic discourses in the country. The present question that remains significant is how the diversity in ethnic and religious field will contribute in developing new concepts and more productive public discourses.

References

Abs.gov.au, (2015). 1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 1995. [online] Available at: https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/featurearticlesbytitle/49F609C83CF34D69CA2569DE0025C182?OpenDocument [Accessed 8 Jan. 2015].

Australia.gov.au, (2015). changing-face-of-modern-australia-1950s-to-1970s | australia.gov.au. [online] Available at: https://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/changing-face-of-modern-australia-1950s-to-1970s [Accessed 8 Jan. 2015].

Bottomley, G. (1976). Ethnic diversity in Australia. Patterns of Prejudice, 10(6), pp.30-35.

Collins, J. (2013). Multiculturalism and Immigrant Integration in Australia. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 45(3), pp.133-149.

Collins, J. (2013). Multiculturalism and Immigrant Integration in Australia. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 45(3), pp.133-149.

Forrest, J. and Dunn, K. (2011). Attitudes to Diversity: new perspectives on the ethnic geography of Brisbane, Australia. Australian Geographer, 42(4), pp.435-453.

Forrest, J. and Dunn, K. (2011). Attitudes to Diversity: new perspectives on the ethnic geography of Brisbane, Australia. Australian Geographer, 42(4), pp.435-453.

migrationpolicy.org, (2002). Australia's Increasing Ethnic and Religious Diversity. [online] Available at: https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/australias-increasing-ethnic-and-religious-diversity [Accessed 8 Jan. 2015].

Moran, A. (2011). Multiculturalism as nation-building in Australia: Inclusive national identity and the embrace of diversity. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34(12), pp.2153-2172.

Neale, M., Kleinert, S. and Bancroft, R. (2000). The Oxford companion to aboriginal art and culture. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

O’Sullivan, D. (2014). Indigeneity, Ethnicity, and the State: Australia, Fiji, and New Zealand. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 20(1), pp.26-42.

Roy, D. (2012). An Excellent ‘Ethnic’ Performance: Lúčnica in Multicultural Melbourne. Musicology Australia, 34(2), pp.277-296.

Smolicz, J. (1984). Minority languages and the core values of culture: Changing policies and ethnic response in Australia. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 5(1), pp.23-41.

Unesco.org, (2015). Policy Paper no. 4 - Multiculturalism: New Policy Responses to Diversity. [online] Available at: https://www.unesco.org/most/pp4.htm [Accessed 8 Jan. 2015].

White, R. (2009). Ethnic Diversity and Differential Policing in Australia: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.Int. Migration & Integration, 10(4), pp.359-375.

White, R. (2009). Ethnic Diversity and Differential Policing in Australia: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Int. Migration & Integration, 10(4), pp.359-375.

wiliam, S. (2015). Multicultural population, Australia's unique human characteristics, Changing Australian communities, Geography Year 9, NSW | Online Education Home Schooling Skwirk Australia. [online] Skwirk.com. Available at: https://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-16_u-123_t-335_c-1158/multicultural-population/nsw/multicultural-population/changing-australian-communities/australia-s-unique-human-characteristics [Accessed 8 Jan. 2015].

ZAPPALA, G. (1998). Clientelism, Political Culture and Ethnic Politics in Australia. Australian Journal of Political Science, 33(3), pp.381-397.

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