The Australian Government’s failure to acknowledge or address colonisation and its impacts on First Nations people directly challenges any efforts to build a successful, multicultural society; which in turn impacts diaspora communities in Australia today.
Supporting multicultural communities
The Australian Greens support the findings of the main Committee report, that diaspora communities make a “valuable contribution … to building our successful Australian multicultural society”. We also agree that “a celebratory and inclusive approach should also be prominent in government policy.” The Australian Greens believe that Australia's cultural plurality is a part of the nation's identity and should be recognised as such. Australia is a culturally diverse society and this should be fully reflected in Australia's social, business and political institutions.
The Australian Greens also advocate for greater inclusion and support from governments. We support the recommendations in this report, but much greater action is needed. In particular, the Australian Greens recommend that:
All government-funded services should be designed in a culturally intelligent manner to ensure they are respectful and respond to the needs of people of diverse cultural backgrounds.
The Government should establish an Australian Multiculturalism Act, to work in conjunction with an Australian Charter of Rights, which would create a framework for multiculturalism and establish clear guiding principles for Australian society to embrace cultural and religious diversity.
The Government should establish an independent and properly resourced Australian Multiculturalism Commission to protect and promote diversity, to work with human rights and anti-discrimination bodies to create cross-governmental partnerships for diversity, and to implement the Multiculturalism Act.
Contrary to attempts by conservatives to undermine legislated protections, Australia as a nation needs a strong Racial Discrimination Act, including preservation of section 18C and proper funding for the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Combatting racism within Australia
The Australian Government, and Australia more broadly, have failed to acknowledge or address the rise of far-right extremism, its inherent racism, and the impact this has had on Australian society. The Australian Government must act, urgently, to build an anti-racist country. That should at a minimum include:
A refreshed, well-resourced and coordinated national anti-racism strategy;
A Federal Parliamentary Code of Conduct to establish a set of rules governing our federal politicians with regard to discrimination and hate speech;
Better data and tracking of experiences of racism and discrimination, including a national database of hate crimes; and
Additional grant funding to support community-led programs to counter violent extremism.
Crucially, the Australian Government must provide full funding and support for an extensive anti-racism campaign, to address its impact across Australia.