Irene Moss, talking about the multicultural country of Australia and what that means.
27 June 2002
Making Multicultural Australia
New South Wales Ombudsman, and former Race Discrimination Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
If you’re talking about a multicultural country, then we’re talking about people who have equal rights: we’re talking about non-discrimination of people of other nations or races, you’re talking about full utility of the skills and services which the person of another background or culture has got to offer and a full encouragement of that use. So we’re talking basically about a dual thing.
CONTINUATION OF INTERVIEW AS TEXT
We’re talking about a commitment that a country is prepared to give, in terms of its government policies, to assisting various cultural groups maintain their culture, and also, along with that, assisting all Australians in having a general commitment to Australia as well. And that is also important, because there may be certain specific aspects of a culture that are totally an anathema to Australian values. So it is important that a truly multicultural country seeks to maintain that appropriate balance of those dual cultures...
We're quite happy for people of various cultures to live in Australia, but they have to be like us, the Australians. But when we talk about a multicultural country, we mean also various governments’ commitments to assisting and supporting various groups to be comfortable with their own culture, as well as being comfortable with the Australian culture. And that balance shifts every now and again over the years. We'll see that as various governments come and go, as various policies get put up, or abolished, or promoted or whatever, you will see various shifts in that commitment. But I think essentially, Australia is a multicultural country.
Interview for Making Multicultural Australia, 1996.