Australians must take steps to help recently arrived migrants adjust and become involved in their new community if multiculturalism is to succeed, according to former Western Australian premier, Professor Geoffrey Gallop.
Professor Gallop will defend a globalised Australia and call for a broader debate about how Australia lives with difference when he delivers the University of Newcastle Barton Lecture tomorrow.
“Multiculturalism is a public policy developed in response to differences in language, place of birth, ethnicity, race, ideas and religion or history and culture,” Professor Gallop said.
“Contained within it are the ideas of mutual respect, equality of opportunity and democratic citizenship.
“As members of a multicultural society we are encouraged to examine our own assumptions and biases and what they mean. Multiculturalism gives real context to concepts such as tolerance and mutual respect.
“Most importantly, multiculturalism imposes on minorities, as well as the majority, the obligation to join in their exercise in rights and responsibilities.”
Professor Gallop said teaching new migrants effective language skills and promoting mutual respect and understanding of differences were the keys to true social cohesion in Australia.
“The vast majority of migrants come here because they want to share in the Australian story and the rights and responsibilities that are built into it,” Professor Gallop said.
“The day-to-day experience of new Australians can range from acceptance though to systematic discrimination. Greater understanding of difference will enhance the effectiveness of multiculturalism as a public policy.”
Professor Gallop was Western Australian Premier from 2001 to 2006. He is Director of the University of Sydney Graduate School of Government.
The Barton Lecture is a free public lecture presented by the University of Newcastle Office of External Relations and the Newcastle Business School.
The 2011 University of Newcastle Barton Lecture will be delivered by Professor Geoffrey Gallop at 5.45pm Wednesday 30 March 2011 in the Newcastle City Hall, Concert Hall, King Street, Newcastle. To register for the free public lecture contact University of Newcastle External Relations Project Officer Laura Williams on 02 4921 7454.
Media are welcome.
For more information telephone Leonie Brann, University of Newcastle Media and Public Relations Officer on 02 4921 6856 or 0448 898 813.