Calculating multiculturalism? Count us in!
Among the many predictable and startling revelations by the 2016 Census results made public this week, one that caught my eye as someone from the Indian descent was that one of every five migrants is either a Chinese or an Indian. Now that makes a lot of Indians in the country, which not only speaks volumes of their capacity and skill but also the promising relationship between Australia and India on many levels, including the migration programme.
My point here must not be taken in its manifest meaning. It is about survival, about integration and a chance for a better life and a safe and secure future for those who come from a non-native English speaking background and an entirely unalike culture and society that welcomes them here in Australia. My point is about oneness and the confidence which the Australian people have the ability to give to newcomers in their homeland. My point is about acceptance and not rejection. MY point is about fairness, tolerance and recognition and not about seclusion, racism and prejudice.
These numbers have made me proud first as an Australian and then as someone who has lived nearly half of his life in India – a country whose migrants make up a big chunk of the Australian population.
The Census is no doubt the largest portrait of any country and exposes a nation in and out. Our 2016 Census has revealed the evergreen image of Australia as one of the most multicultural, diverse and welcoming nations on earth. Where else can one of every fifth person be a migrant; 49.3 per cent of people be first and second generation residents; and the fastest growing religion be a non-Christian religion – Nowhere else, but Australia; and amid all this, a migration boom from China and India has transformed the face of the nation.
I just wish the current and future governments, including the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, continue to make policies that are migrant-friendly and inclusive of them, not ignoring these figures and the talent, skills and diversity that migrants bring to our nation, to our workplaces, to our communities and economy. When the doors of our hearts are open, why should that of our country be closed on anyone who is genuine?
This is not about stereotyping, labelling or nationalism; this is about pride, the Australian pride!