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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Cultural Studies »

What does Multiculturalism mean to you?

Australian Multicultural Foundation.

People associated with the AMF talk about their visions of multicultural Australia.



Date Added:

05 July 2006


Australian Multicultural Foundation


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

18.5 MB


5 min 21 s


What does Multiculturalism mean to you?

Hass Dellal

AMF Executive Director

"It's just an extension of Australian democracy. Multiculturalism was derived out of Australian democracy. I mean those basic core values of respect, giving people their rights, and in terms of obligations and responsibilities."

Prof John Nieuwenhuysen

Director Monash Globalism Institute

"I've always thought it meant the ability for people who have arrived from overseas to take pride, without being ashamed, in their origins and in our own cultures, and not feel obliged to accept assimilation so that everyone becomes exactly the same. That's what I've seen it in a general sense, I've also known it as a system whereby when people arrive they're given some assistance to find support within the Australian community through English language, settlement and other services."

Prof Trang Thomas

Psychology RMIT University

"Multicultural to me is when a group get together in society, in a community, in a university, in a class, in a suburb, that people have come from all different cultures, different countries, they speak different languages, they have different religions, they have different thinking, but they live together in harmony and they are committed to having a good life in this country, they are committed to being Australian."

Carla Zampatti

Chair, Special Broadcasting Service

"To me multicultural means diversity, it means difference, it means appreciating difference, being interested in things that are different, it means learning about differences, expanding your knowledge about the world, and learning from other cultures, enabling you to become a broader person. So I actually see multicultural and diversity as being a very positive contributor to who I am and what is important in my life. Adventure with knowledge, that empowering knowledge that really makes you understand humanity better."

Prof Gary Bouma

Chair, Sociology, Monash University

"Multiculturalism to me is an ideology that says things about the desirability of having difference, retaining difference, valuing difference and enjoying difference. We are already plural, we are already diverse, the question is, is that diversity tracking towards everything becoming similar in a few years? Get over the diversity! and getting on with being ‘normal' as described in the fifties and sixties. Or do we really value the presence of diversity? Is it better to have a variety of languages spoken; does this provide a cultural resource for the nation to draw on? Hey. We're better off to have a variety than to have one, in terms of the richness of the culture, in terms of the capacity of the society to regenerate itself, to produce new ideas and interact with its wider environment."

Susan Carland

Muslim Women's Association

"Multiculturalism is about recognising the positive in diversity. That multiculturalism, especially in Australia, I think, is about not just recognising but acknowledging we're not a homogenous bunch, that mainstream Australia is not a homogenous bunch, that there's lots of mixes of different types of people and that that's a good thing. And that we don't all need to be the same to be Australian, that Australia by definition we really are a land of migrants, and all the different colours and melting pots is a good thing and that makes a better people and a better society."

Sir James Gobbo

Chairman, AMF Board

"That's the overwhelming thing about multicultural Australia, it's a reality. It's not a philosophy, it's not something like some abstract, radical, social doctrine, it's not that at all. Certain doctrines may flow from it, no doubt, but the basic thing about it is that it's a reality. And I think that's one of the things that's very Australian about it."