Australia’s support for Multiculturalism is a win-win for the country

Australia’s support for Multiculturalism is a win-win for the country

22 October 2013

Support for Multiculturalism it at an all-time high in Australia with 84% of respondents saying that multiculturalism has been good for Australia according to the 6th Mapping Social Cohesion 2013 report.

Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria Chairperson Joe Caputo OAM JP is delighted with the level of public support for multiculturalism:

“It’s definitely a win for multiculturalism. Survey results show that multiculturalism is well rooted and that cultural diversity is seen as an important part of our identity,” said Mr Caputo

Multiculturalism’s positive impacts on the economy, social cohesion and in strengthening the Australian way of life were also highlighted by respondents, especially in Victoria with 81% agreeing that multiculturalism benefits the economic development of Australia.

The Scanlon Foundation survey shows that ECCV and other organisations and government focused programs for social cohesion and linking multicultural communities and the wider public are exhibiting positive results. 

But despite the survey’s mostly promising results ECCV was saddened to see an increase in discrimination especially of people from non-English backgrounds and a progressively negative view of asylum seekers.

“The fact that survey respondents consider asylum seekers the 3rd most important problem facing Australia today goes to show how much the issue has been portrayed negatively by politicians and the media.”

“The naming of asylum seekers by political parties as “illegal immigrants” and “queue jumpers” and the selective use of statistics is contributing to an increasing rejection of asylum seekers,” said Mr Caputo. 

ECCV calls on government, the media and the public to see both sides of the story, after all seeking asylum is a right that should be respected and not criminalised.

The Mapping Social Cohesion report findings also points to lower levels of trust  in federal parliament and political parties, a decline in political participation and high awareness of inequality.

ECCV welcomes the findings that the majority of Australians are in favour of immigration and are increasingly more accepting of groups once stigmatised.

But the highest level of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnic origin or religion since the Scanlon Foundation surveys began in 2007 is alarming and needs to be carefully addressed, especially at a government level.

Racism and discrimination is a real worry for our cultural and linguistically diverse communities, especially knowing that (19%) of the respondents who reported having experienced discrimination come from recent migrant backgrounds, such as Malaysians, Indians and Sri Lankans.

“Migrants are often the most vulnerable to discriminatory actions because they might not know where to go for help and lack confidence to stand up against racism“, said Mr Caputo.

“We hope the survey findings will serve as a basis for government discussion and result in all levels of society working together to strengthen social cohesion, harmony, equity and tolerance.”

Please find the full media release attached.

Should you require extra information please contact me on the below contacts.

Catia Nunes

Community Engagement Officer

Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria


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