Multiculturalism is alive and well in Australia but a friend recently told me he doesn’t think multiculturalism is appropriate, prefering a nationalistic approach to bring people together under a common culture, quoting the USA as a better example.
I do think there is a fundamental difference between Australia and the USA as the USA to my mind engenders a culture of nationalism born from a deep sense of allegiance to one’s country. That's a feeling that's not so deep rooted in Australian culture.
If you would like to read about Australia's official government policy on Multiculturalism click here
My question is “Is this realistic or appropriate for Australia ?” or are we better to follow the American model and embrace a common nationalistic purpose to represent all ethnic groups ?.
An extract of the opening gambit to goverment policy from the website is as follows: Australia is a culturally and linguistically diverse society and will remain so. The government’s multicultural policy and programs respond to this diversity, seeking to meet the challenges and maximise the benefits to all Australians. Australia’s cultural diversity is a key part of our national identity. According to the 2001 Census, 23% of Australians were born overseas. An additional 20% had at least one parent born overseas. Between us, we speak about 200 languages and practise a wide variety of religions.
The government’s multicultural policy responds to this diversity, seeking to meet the challenges and maximise the benefits, for all Australians. The key statement of the Australian Government’s multicultural policy is Multicultural Australia: United in Diversity (May 2003). It updates the 1999 New Agenda for Multicultural Australia, reaffirms its fundamental principles and sets strategic directions for multicultural policy for 2003-2006 with a specific emphasis on community harmony.
I would be interested to hear what people think? Can we have both ? Is there really a distinction?