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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

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

But multiculturalism goes, of course, deeper than that. Weíre talking about people who have equal rights: weíre talking about non-discrimination of people of other nations or races, youíre 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 weíre talking basically about a dual thing. Weíre 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 thatís 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 itís important that a truly multicultural country seeks to maintain that appropriate balance of those dual cultures.

Interview for Making Multicultural Australia, 1996.