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What distinguishes Australia is the extraordinary extent to which people of different cultural backgrounds work, play and form families together. AAP

Australia’s multicultural future is a story in three parts

The story of Australia’s multicultural future needs to be informed by an understanding of the past. Those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.
Harmony Day is part of efforts in Australia to promote social cohesion, which showed a marked improvement in 2015, according to the Scanlon Foundation survey. Wikimedia Commons/DIAC Images

Social cohesion survey puts Abbott’s final months as PM in a new light

Despite perceptions of a divided and troubled nation, social cohesion in Australia actually improved on most measures in 2015, the latest Scanlon Foundation survey finds.
Xhosa women celebrate in Qunu in the Eastern Cape. It is time for African languages and cultures to dominate at the continent’s universities. Antony Kaminju/Reuters

African languages have the power to transform universities

African universities need to boost local languages onto the same exalted platform as English before they can be considered truly transformed.
Premier Mike Baird and Communities Minister Victor Dominello have vigorously pursued their vision for peak body Multicultural NSW. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Multicultural mayhem lurks in the shadows of the NSW election

Multicultural issues are stirring in NSW. They range from education, aged care and health through to political rights to commemorate unresolved overseas conflicts.
Australians have high levels of national pride and belonging – much higher than for many comparable countries. EPA/Barbara Walton

Australia, a place of belonging and pride – and some telltale fractures

Every year, come January 26, Australia Day revives the annual dialogue around notions of national identity, our values and what it means to be Australian. It’s an opportune time to reflect on the findings…
Which team did you support in the first 2015 Asian Cup game between Australia and Kuwait, in Melbourne? Flickr/Tourism Victoria

Australians taking sides in the Asian Cup, but for which team?

The passions of some Australians attending games in the 2015 Asian Cup that don’t involve the Socceroos has generated more comment than the crowd at the Australian games. Most notably, in their first game…
Howard-era Human Rights Commissioner Sev Ozdowski is the new chairman of the revamped Australian Multicultural Council. AAP/Matthias Engesser

New Multicultural Council signals a broader shift to the right

Late in December, I took a phone call from a young woman working for the Department of Social Services. She had called, she said, because the department was checking its database of contacts, so that the…
As Australia becomes increasingly multicultural it’s important our schools are aware of the diversity of social and cultural norms children bring to school. Shutterstock

Diversity in the classroom means children develop differently

The first few years of school are tough for any child. Moving from the relatively unstructured activities of preschool to the formal requirements of school is a big step. Children require high levels of…
Religious leaders have come together to promote community harmony, but some political and media agendas have encouraged Islamophobia. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Politicians and media let us down in fight to curb rising Islamophobia

Many incidents of violence and harassment directed at Australian Muslims have been reported recently. These are visible confirmation of fears expressed by their community, that support for the government’s…
Has testing prospective citizens on Australian values increased social cohesion? Glenn Hunt/AAP

Is the Australian citizenship test failing ‘Team Australia’?

Today, October 1, the Australian citizenship test turns seven. This is the official test that determines if a migrant can become an Australian citizen. It is a good time to evaluate its performance. The…
Robinvale footballers have been recruited into an active campaign to heal community divisions, which includes playing an annual Harmony Match. Facebook/Robinvale Football Netball Club

A world away from the MCG, every round is multicultural round

Standing in the social rooms of Robinvale Football Netball Club on presentation night is perhaps like standing in any sports club in regional Australia when their vote count is on. There are the usual…
In Indonesia, ranting online holds the risk of offending thousands of people and even jail time. EPA/Adi Weda

‘Social media capital’ brews with hatred between us and them

“Unity in diversity” is how Indonesia likes to describe its multicultural country. But cyber-bullying cases in Indonesia’s active social media project a different view of how Indonesia’s diverse groups…
Today’s young Australians are the smiling symbols of the embrace of multicultural identity, the nation’s defining moment. Flickr/DIBP Images, Faces of Australia

Modern Australia’s defining moment came long after First Fleet

The culture wars that dominated the narrative during John Howard’s prime ministership have returned with the ascension of his self-described “political love child”, Tony Abbott. While Abbott is sometimes…

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