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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Cultural Studies »

Joe Caputo on the Cain and Kennett government

Joe Caputo.

Joe Caputo describes the Cain and Kennett government approaches to ethnic issues in the 1980s and 1990s



Date Added:

06 April 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

7.9 MB






In 1982 we had a change of government at the state level. So after 20 odd years of conservative government in Victoria we had the second Cain Government elected in Victoria and so we moved very quickly to set up a study that –within – you know the Labor Party and various policy committee to set up an ethnic affairs commission. First we did a study, which was really a follow up on what happened in New South Wales as well, with that major participation study in New South Wales it was you know, that things were almost done at roughly the same time. Similar study was done in Victoria with equity and access and equity studies.


And the outcome of that was setting up the Ethnic Affairs Commission in Victoria and that of course did a lot of work as well in, you know, to assist migrant workers and ethnic communities in the general communities etcetera. But then that didn’t tackle very much, if you like, the systemic non-representativeness of the public sector in Victoria. I think we’re dealing that now, you know with the Victorian Multicultural Commission, one of our major objectives is to have on an annual basis, reports from every department and that report is to address what the policy, you know, programs and also are they – you know what are they doing in terms to reflect our multicultural reality in Victoria?


The changes already established towards the end of the Cain Government, was late ‘80s, early ‘90s. For example, in the early ‘80s, early ‘90s, they actually split the Ethnic Affairs Commission between two arms. They had the administrative part of it, which was doing research and all that sort of stuff and then they had the actual commission, purely doing the – they confined the commission to very few tasks and the commissioner was then involved purely in funding ethnic communities in the small grants and what have you, on one hand and the other was to actually be if you like, the PR arm of the government and the rest of the commission.


And that was consolidated under Kennett as well, so the commission was purely if you like, the public relation phase of the government on multiculturalism, you know, but they at least the rhetoric didn’t change much. It continued throughout the Kennett years.


End transcript