Professor Manuel Aroney, on hatred between cultural groups and the great things the Ethnic Communities' Council did.
16 July 2002
Interview for Making Multicultural Australia
PROFESSOR MANUEL ARONEY
Former member of the Executive, Ethnic Communities’ Council of New South Wales
There were pessimists who said: how can you possibly get the Serbs and the Croats - the Serbian groups and the Croat groups - to sit down under the one roof, around the one table, and agree on anything? How can you get the Greeks and the Turks to sit together and agree on anything, after Cyprus? How can you get so many other groups, that were really at loggerheads back in Europe especially, or in other places, to sit down together and talk to each other; that there was a lot of hatred by these groups, which remained isolated in many cases. And I don't want to overstate the case, but there certainly was suspicion and lack of trust.
One of the great things that the ECC (Ethnic Communities' Council) did - both in NSW and in other States - was to somehow or other get these groups together to say - now look we know you've got problems between you, but we’re in Australia, let's bury those problems for the time being, keep them to yourselves. There are other problems here dealing with our interaction with the general Australian society. And we've got common problems of cultural heritage, of recognition, of language - all sorts of problems here which we’re neglecting. If we work together we could really do something.
Interview for Making Multicultural Australia, 1994.