Since 1945 more than 7.5million new Australians have migrated to our country, and in 2016, nearly half (49%) of Australians were either born overseas or had at least one parent who was. Unequivocally, this makes Australia a multicultural country. For this reason, it is important to acknowledge our cultural diversity as a crucial foundation of modern Australian society. And it is a popular one at that, with the overwhelming majority of Australians (85% according to the Scanlon Foundation’s 2017 Mapping Social Cohesion survey), across all walks of life and from every corner of the country broadly supporting and celebrating our multicultural nation.
Multiculturalism necessarily involves all members of society, requiring both migrants and the broader community to commit to inclusive practices and that migrants are not discriminated against as they engage socially and economically in their new home. Recent research by the Scanlon Foundation points to disturbing trends in the increase of experiences of discrimination in Australia. Despite finding that the majority of Australians support our multicultural society, the Scanlon Foundation reports that 20% of respondents have experienced discrimination. This number is the highest in the 10 year history of the Foundation’s surveys.
While the figure of 20% is unacceptably high, this percentage takes into account all respondents to the Survey, including Australian-born. When one considers the experiences of discrimination with relevance to a person’s country of birth, the numbers become even more compelling. In this regard, SCoA recommends to the Committee another research survey conducted by the Scanlon Foundation in 2015, “Australians Today”, which reveals the following percentages of respondents from different backgrounds who report experiencing instances of discrimination:
These findings highlight the significant hurdle that discrimination within society can pose for fostering a successful multicultural community and demonstrate the need to strengthen measures designed to maintain a socially inclusive society, as suggested below.
For this reason, SCoA is proud to support the Australian Human Rights Commission’s “Racisim. It Stops With Me” campaign.
Since 2012, Racism. It Stops with Me has helped our community respond to prejudice. It is a campaign built on the efforts of people in their neighbourhoods, schools, universities, clubs, and workplaces.
Across Australia, more than 370 organisations – and thousands of people – have pledged their support of the campaign.
Whatever your walk of life, wherever you live, wherever you come from – you can make our community a better place for everyone.
Given recent developments in politics and Australia’s mainstream media, never has there been a more important time for the Settlement Sector to stand up to racism and support this important campaign.
We urge all members, and other interested parties, to get behind the campaign and sign up today.