Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Labor's practical plan for integration and multiculturalism.



Download PDFDownload PDF

JOINT STATEMENT

THE HON KIM C BEAZLEY MP LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION And

SENATOR ANNETTE HURLEY SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

LABOR’S PRACTICAL PLAN FOR INTEGRATION AND MULTICULTURALISM 29 November 2006

I am today announcing that I will establish an Office of Citizenship and an Office of Integration and Multicultural Affairs, located within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Placing these two new offices in my department will ensure that national leadership in practical integration policy is provided across all areas of government so they have the best chance of success.

Under our proposal, citizenship is given the focus and priority it must have, and which can only be provided by including it within the Prime Minister's responsibilities.

Multiculturalism is a part of life - just walk down any street in Australia. But integration isn’t working the way it was meant to - some people lack an understanding of their responsibilities as Australian citizens.

The Howard Government’s failures in integration policy have excluded some community groups from economic and social participation. These failures have reduced national security and weakened our core national values.

Integration and multiculturalism must be recognised when we develop education and health policies, policies for the disabled, for the ageing, for workers, for children, and for mums and dads. And citizenship policies should reach all of us, not just migrants.

My integration and multiculturalism plan also includes:

• A review of the Adult Migrant English Programme to teach English, not just test English

• Teaching respect in schools and teaching all students respect for democratic values including their civic and legal responsibilities • ‘Buddy’ programs between schools to facilitate friendships between students from different denominations, and • Conditions on schools funding to ensure that young Australians are not

exposed to extremist and inflammatory material.

In contrast John Howard has failed on integration. He has:

• Slashed funding of the Adult Migrant English Programme by almost $11 million. • Downgraded portfolio responsibility of Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs to the level of Parliamentary Secretary just after the Cronulla riots. • Removed core funding from Migrant Resource Centres - which provide

essential integration services, and • Alienated communities that could assist with our national security issues.

When John Howard discontinues civics programs; disbands the Muslim Reference Group; and suggests the word multiculturalism is removed from Australia’s multicultural policy, it is clearly a Government that doesn’t understand the nature of our society.

Multiculturalism is a reality, not just a word, and scrapping multiculturalism does nothing to improve the Howard’s Government’s integration failure record.

Only Labor’s practical approach will improve multiculturalism, integration and citizenship in Australia.

George Svigos (Beazley): 0417 196 836 Andrew Plimer (Hurley): 0418 851 403

29 November 2006