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The Contentious Issues Of Australian Multiculturalism Sociology Essay

1762 words (7 pages) Essay in Sociology

5/12/16 Sociology Reference this

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Nowadays, more and more people around the world are coming to Australia to travel, work, or study. Multiculturalism means more than one culture appears in one place. The policy of multiculturalism has been so contentious, because it has positive and negative impacts on Australia.

“multicultural policies are based upon the premises that all Australians should have an overriding and unifying commitment to Australia, to its interests and future first and foremost; It require all Australians to accept the basic structures and principles of Australian society – the Constitution and the rule of law, tolerance and equality, Parliamentary democracy, freedom of speech and religion, English as the national language and equality of the sexes; and impose obligations as well as conferring rights: the right to express one’s own culture and beliefs involves a reciprocal responsibility to accept the right of others to express their views and values.”(Department of immigration and citizenship)

“To some, multiculturalism is simply a diverse population, and a non-discriminatory immigration policy. These are the foundations of Australian multiculturalism, but it consists of much more.”(Chris Bowen,2011)Multiculturalism exposes a society to a variety of different ideas and ways of being that can combine to make society more tolerant of difference as well as reaping the rewards.

“Australia’s postwar immigration policy was originally driven by economic imperatives, but governments came to recognise the benefits of inviting full community participation by our immigrant populations in return for a respect for, and embracing of, the cultures and customs they brought with them.”(Chris Bowen,2011)

In a descriptive sense multicultural is simply a term which describes the cultural and ethnic diversity of contemporary Australia. We are, and will remain, a multicultural society.

“As a public policy multiculturalism encompasses government measures designed to respond to that diversity. It plays no part in migrant selection. It is a policy for managing the consequences of cultural diversity in the interests of the individual and society as a whole.”(Department of immigration and citizenship)

From broader term, multiculturalism sometimes used to describe society, especially in country has many entirely different cultural groups, generally because of the problem of immigrants. This may lead to anxiety abut the stability of national identity, and also may lead cultural exchange that benefit cultural groups. Such exchanges range from major accomplishments in literature, art and philosophy to relatively token appreciation of variations in music, dress and new foods.

“While multiculturalism has been supported by a shifting balance between these twin justifications for most of the life of the policy in Australia, the continuing tension between them underlies the public debate between opponents and supporters of the policy. Conservative critics have attacked the policy for allegedly fostering divisiveness and devaluing the existence of a common Australian culture. Others have maintained that while diversity is a social fact in Australia – the most recent census reported that 44% of the population was overseas born, or had at least one overseas born parent (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006) – it does not constitute a core aspect of Australian identity. multiculturalism is not an essential aspect of Australian citizenship; rather, a unified national culture enjoys support among Australians from different ethnic backgrounds. While Katharine Betts has argued that multiculturalism is a key aspect of Australian identity only for educated urban elites.”(Katherine Smits, pp132,2011)

The policy of multiculturalism encourage Australian tradition, confirms Australia diversity of culture from different aspects, it is vivid. Multiculturalism’s culture and language became Australian people’s life unique feature appears before European colonize came to Australia. This life character spread in modern Australian society, continue contribute we keep our outstanding advantages in society, culture and business.

“Multiculturalism is about inviting every individual member of society to be everything they can be and supporting each new arrival in overcoming whatever obstacles they face as they adjust to a new country and society and allowing them to flourish as individuals.” Chris Bowen,2011)

Australian people acknowledge, accept, value and encourage multiculturalism, We compatible the heritage of indigenous people, the early European colonization, Australia cultured local traditions and mew immigrants from around the world. “The globalisation of societies and economies, together with mass movements of people unprecedented in world history and the growth of information technology, has transformed older concepts of nationhood.”(Stepan Kerkyasharian A.M.,pp6,1998)

Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we’ve encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream,” “We failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We’ve even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values”.(Kathy Novak & SBS Radio, 2011)


43% of Australian population are born overseas or at least one of their family members were born overseas, Australia has more than 200 different language speaks in the country, it is a urbanization country. Within the 19 million population, almost one forth were born overseas. From 2001-2002., 88,900 new immigrants came to Australia, they are from 150 different countries.

International students in Australia can enjoy the advantage of multicultural society, the Australian people are very friendly, they are welcome overseas students to blend in their community and make new friends.

Multiculturalism has some positive impacts for Australia. For example it is welcomed by foreign people, so it will catalyze local tourism. Tourism is a large and important industry in Australia. Everyday a considerable amount of tourists from different countries visit Australia, they have to find commendations, buy food and purchase some souvenir back home, hence boost the local economy.

“When it comes to immigration and migrant settlement policies, we have almost nothing to learn or copy from other countries. We have a lot to teach and a hell of lot to be proud of. Because we have multiculturalism.”(Stepan Kerkyasharian A.M.,pp7,1998)

Another positive impact of multiculturalism is the mixture of different cultural environment. It could enrich citizen’s daily life and helps the development of local culture. For instance, local people are able to sample different types of food from the world and get to know people with different traditions and customs. It also helps the development of arts, since different people share their unique understanding and ideas of arts and culture, therefore ideas from people with different background could be combined. “multiculturalism has contributed to the rich and vibrant cultural life in Australia. It has made possible the innovative ‘fusion’ approaches to theatre, dance, cuisine, and music, which are so often commented on.”(Stepan Kerkyasharian A.M.,pp7,1998)

In the other hand, multiculturalism also got some negative effects on Australia. “There are still challenges in Australia, with research showing some second-generation migrants still feel disconnected and don’t identify themselves as Australian.”(Kathy Novak & SBS Radio , 2011)The chasm between different cultures may lead to cultural conflicts. For example, people who speak different language may experience extreme difficulty in communication. It is called the culture barriers. In order to overcome such problem, using body language is a possible solution. Furthermore, the difference in traditions may also cause problem. People may feel depressed or uncomfortable when their traditions are misunderstood. This is because the different ways in education. China is a typical example as Chinese people are in an exam-oriented education system. It means the students have to memorize everything from the textbook, just because anything can appear in the exam paper. This is a not very good method, because it is not practical as students have to further apply their knowledge form school into work.

In addition, multiculturalism may lead to other types of conflict. For example someone are racist, they may look down upon people. Also the anti-Chinese in 1900s, more and more people are immigrated to Australia because of the slack of immigration policy. It also has overloaded refugees to come here. Some of them can not do anything for the country, so it is a big problem for Australia. Another example is some Chinese people come to Australia to buy property, so the price has been increased dramatically. Some of them do not live there; they just buy it for investment. It is unfair for the average taxpayer, so it is a burden for the country economy. Immigrants also take jobs, so jobs are limited, if immigrants are taking jobs, it is difficult for the local people to find a job. They may also use services, welfares, infrastructures, and resources.

The cost of multiculturalism is very high. The taxpayer pays for multiculturalism in the form of greater expenditure on multicultural programs, welfare and crime prevention. Commerce and industry pays in the form of reduced productivity and output, lost markets, greater industrial disputation and increased expenditure on language training. Migrants lose out themselves, because of their lack of English, in workplace accidents and lower productivity.

The achievements of Australian success also got problems. The Australian people enjoys multiculturalism. As a survey mentioned, 70% of the Australian people object to abolish the policy of multiculturalism. And the people of same rate wants to cut the number of Asian immigrants. A closer examination indicates more opposition from newer arrivals than older Australians.

In times of uncertainty and change the focus on outsiders or newcomers is an unfortunate feature of the human condition. Concern about immigration in times of unemployment has also been exacerbated by at least initial concern about Asian migration, particularly following the Indo-Chinese refugee intakes of the late 1970s. Australian people clearly support multiculturalism, if it is taken to mean tolerance of diversity, the meaning of support is different cultural groups support the society.

The biggest failure of the multiculturalism is we did not support the aboriginal people. Although Aborigines have quite clearly expressed their view that they don’t want to be part of multicultural Australia. They see their rights and position being very different.

This is a negative impact of Australian multiculturalism, because it has many different diversity. What is seen as inappropriate dress by Muslim and Islamic standards is seen as normal by other religions. And because of this diversity in religious standards due to multiculturalism.

To sum up, the policy of multiculturalism is a controversial issue, because it got positive and negative impacts in Australia. Most Australian people support this policy, because it can makes our country more diversity. So Australia’s future will be better.

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