‘Don’t migrate to Australia unless you want to join “Team Australia”’, declared our chest-beating Prime Minister. “Everyone has got to be on team Australia” he carried on.
Now I really don’t know what ‘Team Australia’ is. I suspect it is nothing more than a slogan aimed at stirring up patriotism. And/or votes.
Either way, I don’t like it.
It reminds me of John Howard’s famous (and stunningly racist) comment that “we will decide who comes to this country …” – which he used rather effectively to set up his 2001 election win.
Tony Abbott appears, on the surface, to be channeling John Howard. What might he have on the agenda?
Let us be reminded of what Howard’s was. It might tell us something.
In 2007, as the then Prime Minister, Howard officially scrapped multiculturalism. Need I say more?
In 2012, more willing to embrace a multicultural Australia the Gillard minority government established a Joint Standing Committee on Migration. Some of the key issues addressed were: the role of multiculturalism in the Government’s social inclusion agenda; the effectiveness of settlement programs for new migrants, including refugees; how Australia could better utilise the skills of migrants; and incentives to encourage small business development.
Focusing on the economic, social and cultural impacts of migration in Australia, the Committee made further recommendations to maximise the positive effects of migration.
Initially, the inquiry was commissioned to examine and report on:
Multiculturalism, social inclusion and globalisation
- The role of multiculturalism in the Federal Government’s social inclusion agenda; and
- The contribution of diaspora communities to Australia’s relationships with Europe, the UK, Middle East and the immediate Asia-Pacific Region.
Settlement and participation
- Innovative ideas for settlement programs for new migrants, including refugees, that support their full participation and integration into the broader Australian society; and
- Incentives to promote long term settlement patterns that achieve greater social and economic benefits for Australian society as a whole.
National productive capacity
- The role migration has played and contributes to building Australia’s long term productive capacity;
- The profile of skilled migration to Australia and the extent to which Australia is fully utilising the skills of all migrants; and
- Potential government initiatives to better assist migrant communities establish business enterprises.
Not surprisingly, this appears to have been scrapped. Well, the link is dead, so I can only assume it’s been scrapped. Can I also thus assume that Abbott has it somewhere in his agenda to follow Howard and also attempt to scrap multiculturalism?
I certainly hope not, but I fear that he will. The fictitious ‘Team Australia’ and what it is trying to represent has that distinct smell about it.
I quite like a multicultural Australia.
With over 6 million immigrants since the end of WWII, we have one of the most successful culturally diverse societies in the world. The Inquiry into Multiculturalism in Australia provided a framework for strengthening community harmony and promoting the economic, cultural and social benefits of Australia’s cultural diversity for all Australians. Australian multiculturalism also embraces the heritage of Indigenous Australians, early European settlement, our home-grown customs and traditions and the experiences of new migrants coming to this country, and promotes mutual respect and equality, aiming to enhance social cohesion.
Our multicultural policies have also affirmed that all Australians have the opportunity to be active and equal participants in society, and are free to maintain their religious and cultural traditions within Australian law. There are other benefits of multiculturalism for Australia – we are not only considerably richer in experiences, but we enjoy much closer economic and social links with other nations as a direct result of our diverse multicultural population.
John Howard didn’t like it that way, and Tony Abbott’s ‘Team Australia’ has a tinge of Howard about it.
I wrote recently that the Abbott Government has been a very easy one to predict. I could be right again.
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