Describe about the Multiculturalism for Cultures and Traditions.
Identification of the issue (background information)
Multicultural refers to the acceptance, mutual existence, as well as, promotion of a range of cultures and traditions, in a single jurisdiction, generally consisting of the overseas ethnic groups, as well as, the aboriginal ethnic groups. Multiculturalism was introduced during the 1970s in Australia (Calma, 2007). Since then, the core principles of multiculturalism have remained the same in a broad sense. But the basic federal multicultural policy statements have changed and evolved, from the time it was introduced, as a result of the changed government responses, along with the priorities towards the dynamic Australian society. The multicultural policy of Australia has its heritage in the post settlement issues faced by migrants and the government response regarding the same, across the 1980s-1990s. At present, each of the state and territory in Australia has active programs and policies to deal with multiculturalism.
Statement of position (main thesis statement)
Australia is a successful example of the multiculturalism in action. Even though the multiculturalism in Australia has undergone some important changes, from the time it was taken upon as a government policy in 1970s, it has been, in general, considered as a successful undertaking which has quite clearly contributed towards the solidity of the Australian society (Calma, 2007). This paper is aimed towards supporting the statement that Australia is indeed a successful example of the multiculturalism. In the following parts, the various factors that make multiculturalism a success in Australia have been highlighted. Further, the limitations which could affect this success have also been explained. Lastly, the supporting data has been presented which supports the thesis statement.
Multiculturalism is sometimes viewed as a simple collection of the non-discriminatory immigration policies and diverse population, but it is much more than that. Multiculturalism is rooted in the traditional Australian values (Living Safe Together, 2016). The government policies of Australia have expressed the relevance of multiculturalism, to all its citizens in the 1980s, but multiculturalism has grown beyond its originating point, by becoming a pillar in the nation-building narratives of Australia. The multiculturalism policies generated programs and services have served the migrants entering in the country from across the globe, for a number of years. At present, multiple generations of such migrants, having different cultural backgrounds, have grown up in the societies of Australia, and contribute towards the diversity of the country, as well as, helps in growing the global connectivity.
Multiculturalism has been contested historically, both on the basis of the concept, as well as, the policy framework. Mark Lopez has argued that amid the supporters of this concept, there has been a divergence in the approaches (Lopez, 2000). The different schools of multicultural thoughts have advocated different range of concepts like ethnic structural pluralism, ethnic rights multiculturalism, cultural pluralism, and welfare multiculturalism. Historian Geoffrey Blainey had viewed that the concept of multiculturalism encouraged ethnic tribalism (Koleth, 2010). A range of conservative commentators, as well as, politicians echoed this view. Further, this was supported by the evidence that emerged regarding the resultant resentment and confusion concerning the different aspects of the policy associated with multiculturalism, amongst the common man, in spite of the attempts by the officials to characterise it as encompassing all the Australians.
Lopez has further argued that towards the mid of the 1990s, a few of the early supporters of multiculturalism, like, Sir James Gobbo, along with Jerzy Zubrzycki, were engaged in the 'post-multicultural' theories and suggested that the concept of 'multiculturalism' should be replaced with the concept of 'cultural diversity' (Koleth, 2010). The reason behind the demand for change in the concept was that, as per such proponents, multiculturalism was a 'self-conscious' term which should not be used as it was not necessary and had outlived its purpose. Some of the other commentators, like Chandran Kukathas, assumed the position, which was described by them as classical liberal, and argued that multiculturalism was simply a single feature of pluralism (Koleth, 2010). They further viewed that the public establishments needed to be nonaligned, neutral, as well as, concerned with the respect for the individual freedoms and rights, along with ensuring tolerance, instead of facilitating the interests of such collective groups in the society.
So, the critics of multiculturalism believe this concept promotes segmentation, instead of unity and that it prevents the groups from being integrated towards a common national culture and identity.
The 2015 Mapping Social Cohesion survey, conducted a survey to discover the views of the Australians, regarding the concept of multiculturalism (Scanlon Foundation, 2016). This survey established that 86 % of Australians consented upon the fact that multiculturalism has been good for the country (Markus, 2015). And this level of concurrence has been consistent during the past three years.
The concern of the critics seems legitimate, as cultural diversity cannot be fully welcomed without some of the limitations (Koleth, 2010). Further, the policies in this behalf have to be so aimed, to bring the people into the national community, instead of being prevented from doing the same. If the multiculturalism in Australia had to be considered as a failure, the signs of trouble would have been apparent, and the present evidence does not appear to be suggesting any such view (Soutphommasane, 2016).
Even the multiculturalism’s critics would agree with the social miracle associated with the 20th and 21st century’s migration history. The recent survey on social cohesion, by Scanlon Foundation presented the evidence on the measures of social cohesion and the level of neighbourhoods was included in this survey. The survey portrayed that only 2% of the individuals strongly disagreed with the fact that the people of varied backgrounds got together well enough, in the local areas. And only 3 % of the individuals strongly disagreed with the fact that the mix of such varied backgrounds improved life in their localities (Markus, 2015).
Studies from the OECD have clearly demonstrated that the children born to the immigrants in the country, attained higher average results, as compared to the children born to the natives of Australia (OECD, 2012). Similar results have been achieved in the economic participation. Further, the skilled migrants have elevated rates of market participation, as compared to the overall population, and the median annual earning, in the skilled migrants is also higher in comparison to the overall population (Department of Immigration and Border Protection, 2014).
Furthermore, it has been estimated that out of the immigrants, who have been residing in Australia for more than 10 years, approximately 80% of such immigrants have decided to take up the Australian citizenship (Smith, Wykes, Jayarajah and Fabijanic, 2010). These immigrants have integrated on civil levels by becoming the full members of the nation. So, on these basis of the economic participation, social cohesion, civic integration, and the educational attainment, it can be adjudged that the multicultural society of Australia ha been a success.
The reasons for this success is not one, but many. Firstly, due to the well-ordered and well-integrated immigration policy, along with the immigration programs, the public has accepted the cultural diversity and has braced the Australian society’s cultural generosity. The multicultural policy which emerged in the 1970s replaced the assimilation approach and instead helped in the adoption of the mass immigration, post the Second World War era (Soutphommasane, 2016).
Secondly, unlike the nations like France, Australian society has openly celebrated its cultural diversity, instead of confining the cultural differences to the private realm (Soutphommasane, 2016). Further, Australia has open heartedly welcomed such immigrants by extending the hand of friendship towards the immigrants. As long as such cultural differences are consistent with the Australian democracy, such differences are embraced.
Thirdly, this concept has served a range of objectives over the years in Australia, which includes the pursuit of societal justice, nation building, integration of migrants, and the attempts to maintain the social cohesion (Lopez, 2013).
Fourthly, the nation of Australia is a migrant nation, and it would not be the contemporary Australia, as we know it, without the mass migration. Apart from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, every person living in the country, is either a migrant himself or is a descendent of such migrant (Ozdowski, 2012).
Lastly, with the changes in the immigration policies, over the course of time, the outlook of the Australians and the place in the world, of the country, has changed during the past 200 years. From being insecure, racially intolerant and prejudiced the country of Australia has embraced the diversity by being a multicultural nation. The policies incorporated in this behalf extended to cover the Australian egalitarianism ethos, as well as, liberties to include all the linguistic, religious, as well as, cultural differences within the democratic structures (Ozdowski, 2012).
The success of multiculturalism in the case of Australia is the result of the adaptable, as well as, pragmatic approach of the government towards the migration, along with the present social cohesion programs in the public policy. The contemporary multiculturalism’s objective is for all the people to participate on the same terms and to access the opportunities, as well as, focus on nation building (Ozdowski, 2012). The objective also negates the need for any separateness or ethnic ghettos from the society in general. The multiculturalism in the country has maintained two key values, which are tolerance of the racial, religious, as well as, cultural differences, which have been underpinned in the values of the Australians.
The celebrations of the national day in 2011, witnessed a lot of enthusiastic participants, and the majority of these were the newest citizens of Australia. The Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, had addressed that the multiculturalism in Germany had failed (Bowen, 2011). And since then, it has become a fashion to declare that multiculturalism has been a failure, and often has been blamed for terrorism. But in the case of Australian multiculturalism, it has been a success, for numerous reasons.
The immigrants in the country have the freedom to follow their culture, as long as these are consistent with the values of Australia, the rule of law, as well as, the individual freedom (Department of Social Services, 2014). There is also a genius in the multiculturalism of Australia, as this is citizenship-based, so in order to fully enjoy the benefits of the society of Australia, a person is required to take the pledge of commitment.
The post war immigration policy of Australia was initially motivated by the economic imperatives, but with passage of time, the Australia, Government realized the advantages of inviting a complete participation of the community, by the immigrant populations, in return for gaining respect for, as well as embracing of, the cultures along with the customs brought by such immigrants, with them (Lopez, 2013). This very realization, underlines the advantages of the approach adopted by Australia.
During this journey of multiculturalism, each wave of the immigrants has faced numerous challenges and every generation has had the anxiety about the unfamiliarity. The allegations that such migrants come to convert the population, as well as, the beliefs of the Australians, are completely wrong. Chris Bowen, who was the Minister for Immigration in the year 2011, believed that if Australia wants to be free and equal, then it has to be multicultural. He further believed that if Australia wants to be multicultural, it has to remain free and equal (Bowen, 2011).
Summary and Recommendations
The theme behind this success is the government policies in the matter of multiculturalism, as well as, the fact that Australia is an immigrant nation. The implementation of the goal oriented, as well as, adaptable approach towards the migration, has led to the success of the multiculturalism in Australia, as a nation policy, since its inception.
The multiculturalism policy in Australia has laid down the guiding ethos for equitable, just process, as well as, dignified integration. Multiculturalism is an asset which has to be accommodated and fostered. The multiculturalism policy in Australia was introduced to deal with the settlement needs of the migrants, in order to recognize the preservation of the cultural identities. The data provided in the previous part, clearly established that multiculturalism has been a success in the country, and even highlighted the reasons behind this success.
Though, there are still issues faced by multicultural societies regarding social cohesion. Even after the various policies implemented by the government, there still remains inhibitions regarding the acceptance of multiculturalism concept. Further, people still view it as a way of creating division. So, it is recommended to ensure the proper application of the current policy of multiculturalism. Further, awareness needs to be spread to remove such inhibitions from the opponents of this concept. Furthermore, continued government support is a fundamental requirement to support the cultural diversity of the Australian society and this commitment has to be reflected through the governmental policies.
To conclude, it can be said, that multiculturalism has been a huge and clear success in Australia.
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