Today, every person is well aware of the well- established concept that the world has been converted into a global hub. We are residing in an environment that is an amalgamation of diverse cultures, traditions, and beliefs. People belonging from different roots of the origin or cultural backgrounds are choosing a similar place or country for residing. Likewise, Australia is also a multicultural country where people belong to various communities, cultures, races, and backgrounds live together. (Olympic College 2020). There is evidence which suggests that multicultural setup which promotes the presence of diverse cultures by amalgamating and mixing has both pros and cons. The aim of this assessment is to shed some light on the concept of multiculturalism with special emphasis on Australia.
It is believed that it has numerous benefits emerging from the multicultural setup for a lot of people, for cultural diversity, races, and traditional values that ultimately makes the society integrated, culturally rich, and lucrative. It may sometimes be a great learning experience to be a part of a society which comprises a blend of several other cultures. Inhabitants can become adaptive and have higher tolerance towards other cultures, ethnicities as well as customs. Also, living in a multicultural society setup may provide an individual the chance to widen one’s attitude and knowledge. Multiculturalism allows an individual with a chance to learn new cultures which promotes one’s consciousness and learning relating to the world’s issues (Rajadurai 2018).
Multiculturalism is an eternal part of Australian society for a long time. People in Australia witness it every single day in their cities and residential areas, students in their schools, and adults at their offices and workplaces. Australians adopt and mix with those from different cultural backgrounds as a result of multiculturalism. The migration of people hailing from different areas in Australia had no knowledge of the original, native inhabitants and their prodigious spiritual roots with the land around them, or of their detailed knowledge of astronomy, heritage, rich culture, climatology, botany, ecology, zoology, mythology, and educational system(Australian Human Rights Commission 2016). Australia’s multiculturalism is sound and positive because Australian society is open in accepting immigration as an important part of the nation-building strategy. One such example of acceptance of multiculturism is their food and hospitality industry where, hotels and restaurants from various cuisines from Italy, Hong Kong , and Turkey have been established to welcome the people in the country and make them feel like their own home (Refer Fig 1, 2 and 3).
In various countries, immigration occurred without concrete planning. But this is not the scenario here. A well-planned immigration plan and the program have ensured public approval of cultural diversity and have created a solid base of the cultural generosity of Australian society (Raja Durai 2018). Australian society openly celebrates cultural diversity by the warm welcoming of people, respecting their diversity ,and acknowledging their culture. Craig Laundy, Assistant Minister, Multicultural Affairs in Australia claims the success of Australian multiculturalism as one of the most socially cohesive nations and culturally diverse in the world is firmly based on our strict obedience to the basic values which is the basic foundation of Australian society (Migliorino 2017). Immigration law was one of the initial national policies to be formally adopted in Australia. The 2015 Mapping Social Cohesion survey revealed that around 86 percent of native Australians agreed to the fact that multiculturalism has been fruitful and beneficial for their country. On educational attainment, reports from the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) show that the children of immigrants have achieved better average academic results than the native-born Australians. Such a positive result is seen in economic participation also. Skilled and efficient migrant labor has a better rate in labor market participation in comparison to the entire population and their annual earnings (median) are also higher. On account of civic collaboration, an estimated 80 percent of migrated population with greater than a decade of residence has preferred to opt for Australian citizenship. On this entire basis, involving social unity, educational achievement, economic participation, and civic integration – Australia’s response towards multicultural society has been a great success. The main benefits of multiculturalism include generating business activities, contributing to tax payment, education, and capital inflow(Australian Human Rights Commission 2016).
Also, there have been multiple arguments against living in multicultural setups. It is felt that the traditional values and culture of the host nation tends to get dull in order to promote and amalgamate different cultures. As a result of it, the importance of the culture of the host nation starts getting sidelined. A multicultural setup brings about cultural differences that may tend to bring fractions in society. There have been various contradictions around the legislation of multiculturalism in Australia. Its flow is inconsistent and highly influenced by the existing ruling party and by the public views. Although the policy welcoming multiculturalism and the elimination of race system in immigration selection criteria were officially approved by the government in 1973, ending the perception that non- native races and cultures were inferior. This was soon reversed when in 1988, one Australia immigration policy for immigration selection criteria was adopted when the ethnic affairs policy of the Liberal-National Party was released. Opponents of multiculturalism strongly argue that it may promote more differences than promoting national unity and it may avert society from being merged into a single identity and nation. It, in turn, witness licit and serious problems because cultural diversity cannot be welcomed without some opposition. Some Australians are well attracted to multiculturalism and consider new and different cultures, traditions, and experiences attractive, and interesting, others consider diversity a lethal threat and look with hostility and doubtful and refrain from accepting it. The protest against existing racism and the promotion of multiculturalism requires a change in mindset and behaviour at all levels. Moreover, there are still openly racist and uncontrollable parliamentarians in Australia in powerful designations, spending a huge amount on dehumanizing asylum seekers and people from Muslim and Arab nations. At the center of the debate concerning “who to let stay and who to move out.”(Booth 2016).
Therefore it can be concluded that the multiculturalism has both pros and cons in Australian society and culture. Australia has a special model of moral outlook to allow those who have been displaced due to conflicts and wars in which Australia was an active participant, especially people who arrive as the most vulnerable category. Australia’s social and cultural diversity will be motivated, strengthened, and enriched if “others” are accepted with free will, goodwill and are free to practice, profess their particular religious and cultural traditions within Australian law. In addition to this, Australians need to learn and accept that this is not a threat to their own culture and therefore accept multiculturalism with a welcoming and accepting attitude and encourage inter-community events.
Australian Human Rights Commission. 2016. The success of Australia’s multiculturalism. [Online]. Available at: https://humanrights.gov.au/about/news/speeches/success-australias-multiculturalism [Accessed on 17 September 2017].
Booth. K. 2016. The University of Sydney, The top challenges facing multicultural Australia. [Online) Available at: https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2016/12/01/the-top-challenges-facing-multicultural-australia.html [Accessed on 17 September 2017]].
Markus, A. 2015.Mapping social cohesion national report, Scanlon foundation and Monash University, Melbourne. [Online]. Available at: https://scanlonfoundation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/ScanlonFoundation_MappingSocialCohesion_2017-1.pdf [Accessed 17 September 2017]
Migliorino. S.(2017).Culture and Indigenous Research Centre Australia, Mapping Sydney’s multiculturalism. [Online] Available at: https://www.culper.com.au/blog/mapping-sydney. Accessed on: 17 September 2017].
Rajadurai, E. (2018.) Why Australia is the world’s most successful multicultural society. [Online]. Available at: https://mckellinstitute.org.au/research/articles/why-australia-is-the-worlds-most-successful-multicultural-society/[Accessed on: 17 September 2017].
Olympic College. n.d. Advantages and disadvantages of living in a multicultural society. [Online].
Available at https://www.olympic.edu/student-life/ranger/ranger-news-articles/advantage-and-disadvantages-living-multicultural-society
[Accessed on: 17 September 2017].
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