Saturday, December 24, 2005

Multiculturalism - what more needs to be done?

Professor Allan Patience, a visiting fellow in the research school of Pacific and Asian studies, Australian National University, argues "the past decade has seen a sustained and deliberate white-anting of Australia's multicultural achievements. The campaign has been fostered by neo-conservative elements in the Federal Government and inflamed by shock-jocks on talkback radio. The ugly consequences of these opportunistic politics are evident in the riots in Sydney's south and west. If unchecked, the disturbances will spread."

In answer to the question what should be done he makes three points:

"First, political parties must abandon electoral strategies that promote fear and loathing. Second, research has to be conducted into flawed and failed social policies that are aggravating the shutting out of ethnic minorities from mainstream Australian society, and new policies - some of which will need to be quite radical - will have to be implemented.

Third, a new Institute of Multicultural Affairs needs to be established, to conduct cogent public education programs about our multicultural achievements and how they can be sustained and progressed. Rather than be made to stand alone, it should be placed in a university that has the resources and community connections to ensure its survival.

Over the past decade there has been too much making scapegoats of minorities for cheap electoral advantage and macho political point-scoring. It has serious long-term implications for Australia's survival as a coherent and decent society. The warning signals must be heeded."

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