Us, the Australians
After a gap of 6 years the Australian government has released a new statement, describing what it means to be part of “multicultural Australia”.
It was heartening to see Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull term Australia as an “immigrant nation” and acknowledge the fact that “Australians look like every face, every race, every background because we define ourselves and our nation by our commitment to shared political values, democracy, freedom and the rule of law”.
The statement also “condemned people who incite racial hatred” and called for regular inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue as a way to reduce tensions.
The Prime Minister emphasised upon learning English for integration and at the same time said having a “multilingual workforce” was a competitive edge in an increasingly globalised economy.
This is an important statement from the Prime Minister in these times of charged passions against immigration world over, including Australia. The statement also carried photos of women wearing hijab, which is as strong a symbolism as it gets.
The role of immigrants in making Australia what it is today can never be overlooked. The government is facing heat from some of the hard-line parties vis-à-vis immigration but this statement puts to rest any doubts as to what the government’s thoughts are.