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Multiculturalism in Australia

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Multiculturalism in Australia

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  • October 2008
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Although Australia is a settler society, there has been bitter and passionate debate as to whether multiculturalism is an appropriate policy orientation for Australia. This essay will start by using information from the Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website, lecture 10A and (Markus, 1994), to look at the evolution of Australian policies up to today and outline the Current multicultural policy. The essay will then discuss Pauline Hanson and new racism (Stratton, 1998) and look at the reasons why Pauline Hanson’s one nation party gained the support it did. Following this, the essay will illustrate people’s fears of multiculturalism and immigration by quoting questions asked by Australians and published in ‘issues in society’, (Dispelling the myths about immigration’1999), as well as survey results published in The British Journal of Sociology (Phillips 1996, 122). Finally, the essay will then conclude that the reason for the debate over multiculturalism as an appropriate policy is, despite the progress made, many Australians still have racist views.

As discussed by Fine (2007, Lecture 10a) Australia started out as primarily a penal colony. By the 1830’s free movement had started and Australia was becoming a settler society. Early immigration at this time consisted of mainly British and Celtic’s coming to Australia through programs such as parish-assisted emigration until 1846, followed by free passage and bounty systems administered in London and UK assisted packages. While there were some other European and non-European settlers during this time, they came out on their own and the majority of settlers were still British and Celtic. The first government policy on immigration was the ‘white Australia policy’, which excluded non-European immigrants. The white Australia policy was not officially abolished until 1973, however, after World War 2 we started to see more people immigrating to Australia from other European...