50 years of Multiculturalism
"Australia's diversity is a fundamental aspect of our identity and a source of national strength and pride."
Address to the Federation Chamber, Private Members' Business - Multiculturalism
Monday 27 November 2023
Last Saturday evening, I had the privilege of attending a gala dinner hosted by Fair Canberra at the Hellenic Club in Woden, in my electorate of Bean, celebrating 50 years of multiculturalism, in addition to the 40th anniversary of local ACT migrant and refugee settlement services. Fair Canberra helps over 4,000 members from over 180 nationalities in our community every year. Funds raised from the dinner went towards local disadvantaged families who recently arrived from Afghanistan through the Fair Human Foundation.
Multicultural policy, introduced in Australia by the Labor government 50 years ago, coincided with the removal of the last vestiges of the White Australia policy—the Immigration Restriction Act. It heralded a new era in Australia. Australia's diversity is a fundamental aspect of our identity and a source of national strength and pride. Over half of us today either were born overseas or have a parent born overseas. We've come a long way in 50 years, but, by its nature, multiculturalism needs to be adaptable to remain a relevant concept to current populations, where we have multiethnic and multifaith households. The work of Fair Canberra, our migrant and refugee services and organisations like the Hellenic Club are making sure that this is the case and remains relevant today.