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Multicultural society - Pushing ahead

James Jupp.

Dr James Jupp speaks on multiculturalism in Australia.

Created:

1994

Date Added:

16 July 2002

Source:

Interview for Making Multicultural Australia, 1994.

Format:

mov (Quicktime);

File size:

--

Length:

31 secs

Transcript

DR JAMES JUPP
Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies, Australian National University

I think one of the problems with multiculturalism in Australia - itís still based on immigrants, whereas in the United States and Canada itís based on old established communities, some of them, like say the French Canadians, going back 350 years. Whereas here, multiculturalism is very much seen as the concern of immigrants. And therefore what happens back home is still important to them. And thatís a strength in the way that it consolidates people around, but itís also a weakness in that it alienates them from long-term Australians, who see these as foreign issues.

CONTINUATION OF INTERVIEW AS TEXT

If you get sixty-thousand Greeks turning out and demonstrating in Melbourne about Macedonia, the great majority of people react to that in a very hostile way, for two reasons: one is theyíre scared by such large demonstrations... (they) are very unusual in Australia; and secondly, because it is a foreign issue, nothing to do with us. So itís partly just - it is sort of xenophobia, and partly feeling it is foreign, it is an outside (issue)... it shouldn't be influencing the political system, because they don't have the interests of the country at heart, they have the interests of some other country at heart.

And it is partly that some of the manifestations of ethnic politics, like demonstrations, upset people. Australians don't actually like demonstrations, not only ethnic demonstrations, but any demonstration - they didn't like the Vietnam moratoriums. They really don't like any kind of politics which is sort of excitable, and as some of the ethnic manifestations are fairly excitable... and that is also the cost - looking for violence, which doesn't actually exist. I mean, you get sixty-thousand people demonstrating, there is not a single arrest - thatís not violence, but... the slide from demonstrations to violence in the media is very, very quick.

...Itís just that Australian politics isn't exciting, it isn't an interest of the majority of the people, and they don't like that. They don't like strikes, they don't like demonstrations, they don't like people chaining themselves to railings, they don't like flags and banners, they don't like any manifestations of excitability, because politics in Australia has never... never engaged people in this activity.

Interview for Making Multicultural Australia, 1994.