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Making multicultural Australia

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Subject: Cultural Studies »


What is a multicultural society?

Irene Moss.

Irene Moss speaks on her views of multiculturalism, and gives a deeper explanation.



Date Added:

16 July 2002


Interview for Making Multicultural Australia


mov (Quicktime);

File size:



1min 40sec


New South Wales Ombudsman, and former Race Discrimination Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

It’s important to note that just because a country has people of many many cultures doesn't mean it’s multicultural. So it means a lot more than just seeing a whole lot of different faces. And indeed Australia’s got people from over a hundred and twenty nationalities. So that’s pretty amazing if you think about it.

But multiculturalism goes, of course, deeper than that. 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. 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 have a general commitment to Australia as well. And that’s also important, because there may be certain specific aspects of a culture that is totally an anathema to Australian values, in a beneficial sense. And so it’s important that a truly multicultural country seeks to maintain that appropriate balance of those dual cultures.

Interview for Making Multicultural Australia, 1996.