Given immigration looms so large in our extended family, I felt this was an appropriate topic for the “I” article of Our A – Z of Australia. The results of the 2011 Census are not yet available, sadly, so I am depending on the 2006 Census data for this look at Australia.
Michel Lawrence spent two years photographing as many people as possible from every different country of the world who now calls Australia home. The result is a celebration of our multicultural diversity. Enjoy!
The statistics from 2006 tell us that 22.2% of the population were born overseas. Add to that the 20% of Australian’s who have at least one parent born overseas. Of the remaining 58% a lot would have overseas-born grandparents. This percentage has dropped: in 2001 the percentage of overseas-born was 28.2%. This is a nation of migrants. Australia has been since Europeans arrived. Australia’s First People have been here over 60,000 years, Europeans arrived to stay in only 1788.
Since 1945, around 6.5 million people have come to Australia as new settlers, comprising about 3.35 million males and 3.15 million females. We have more to come.
Kate Lundy, speaking after her appointment to the position of Minister of Multicultural Affairs (emphasis added):
Sixty percent of Australia’s future population growth will come from migration and as a government it is critical that we have strong policy to effectively leverage the strength of our diversity. The elevation of multicultural affairs into the ministry reflects the Gillard Government’s strong commitment to an inclusive Australia.
I quote Chris Bowen, Minister for Immigration, from a speech he gave February 16, 2011. For once, I agree with him. Not often I do that! I encourage you to read the article below in full.
Australian governments do not defend cultural practices and ideas inconsistent with our values of democracy, justice, equality and tolerance. Nor should we.
We have tried to instil a sense of belonging in Australia while encouraging the participation of all people. If values are not articulated, not put into practice and people do not feel part of society, this can lead to alienation and, ultimately, social disunity.
It is counter-intuitive to assume that the majority of migrants want to change Australia. Allegations of migrants wanting to come here to convert the populace and turn it into a replica of their homelands ignore the truth: people come to Australia because, to them, Australia represents something better.
Australians come from many different locations around the world. Can you see your place of birth? Countries such as Nigeria and Ghana don’t rate a mention in 2006 (below): it will be interesting to see the 2011 figures.
|Country of Birth||Estimated Resident Population|
|People’s Republic of China (Excl SARs and Taiwan Province)||203,143|
|Hong Kong (SAR of China)||76,303|
|Serbia and Montenegro||68,879|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||27,328|
|Papua New Guinea||26,302|
In other words, we come from a LOT of different places! Therefore we speak a lot of different languages and government departments take care to ensure we all have the opportunity to understand. Click on the image below to see this in action!
March 21 is Harmony Day in Australia. In 2012 the theme is sport:
In 2012, the Harmony Day theme Sport – play, engage, inspire recognises the important role and positive influence that sport has in our multicultural nation. Involvement in sport whether as a participant, volunteer, spectator or administrator unites people of all ages and fosters a sense of belonging, acceptance and an understanding of other cultures.
While we are busy creating harmony in Australia, we much ensure the other great “I”, our Indigenous population, is not excluded. I do not see Indigenous people mentioned nearly enough in the various publications I read about multiculturalism or Harmony Day.
Visit http://myatozchallenge.com/ to find more countries and articles on the A – Z Challenge.
Related articles on this site:
- A For Arid
- B for Balls and Barracking
- C for Crime
- D for Deprecation
- E for Employment
- F for Fair Go
- G for Grass, Greenery, Gardens
- H for Health, Home and Happiness
- Our A – Z of Australia