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DiverCities Network Australasia
In 2018-2019, Australia became home to 249,700 migrants who became permanent residents.
Each person regardless of age, gender, nationality, religion, language or ethnicity needs the opportunity to feel part of their new community.
Wherever they live, the only way positive settlement experiences will happen for them and society, is to develop networks within their new communities - with people from different cultural backgrounds - Australian-born Anglo-Saxon people, Indigenous Australians, and other migrants. This is intercultural settlement.
Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea and Asia all have different migration and national policy contexts. Multicultural, bicultural and assimilation are policies which shape and influence the ways our local communities live on a daily basis.
There are positives and negatives to all policies but what if there was a different way? One in which all people felt included? One in which all people are encouraged to get to know each other; to share experiences; to share ideas and create new products and services; to become friends with people outside their usual networks? One in which no-one felt that the policy was not about them?
What if relationships were facilitated at the local government level to reduce fear of each other, promote economic development, create friendships, meaningful interaction and improve harmony and social cohesion?
What if communities lived interculturally?
Interculturalism is a new term and practice in Australia and we're proud to champion it.
How does multiculturalism differ from interculturalism?
Multi means 'lots of' and 'inter' means within and between.
Both words are equally important.
Australia is a multicultural society that, to continue to grow inclusively and cohesively needs to ensure that people behave interculturally.
That is, government policy means people are encouraged and supported through government-funded programs, and infrastructure (such as sporting club leases, parks etc), to
Interculturalism sees nothing wrong with multiculturalism. It may be that the outcome you want for your community is simply to have people from lots of different cultural, faith and language backgrounds.
We believe, however, that multiculturalism will not be the policy platform that withstands, into the future, the pressures of a complex society such as Australia.
Multiculturalism was well equipped to deal with defined diversity in the 1960-1990’s but the super-diversity of Australia now makes our society complex on so many levels.
People are not defined by their ethnicity, culture, language, or religion as governments and policy makers often wish to define them. People are multidimensional and influenced by the way in which their age, gender, disability and class intersect with their ethnicity, culture, language and faith.
Under a multicultural framework, relationships between people of different cultural backgrounds can be a bit hit and miss unless someone is specifically facilitating intercultural relationships.
Think honestly about how many people from cultural, language or religious backgrounds different to yours who have been to your house recently. If you have had people who are different to you to your house, then you are living interculturally. If you haven't, then you are living in a multicultural community that may not be enriching your day life.
Multiculturalism is not generally seen by Australian-born Anglo-Saxons as being about them – it’s often identified as being about the ‘other,' based on the 'other's' ethnicity. Indigenous people are the First Peoples of Australia and do not consider that they are part of a multicultural policy.
This means that each time a state or local government creates a Multicultural Strategy or Plan, it knowingly leaves out two important sections of the community - Australian-born Anglo-Saxon and Australian Indigenous people which may increase division, fragmentation and disharmony into the future.
The questions often for Australia are how to manage changes to our existing culture and population and how to make sure that our society reduces its current trajectory of social fragmentation to increase its opportunity of social connection.
As interculturalism ensures a place for everyone, it is a promise of a way forward, together.
We're always happy to talk about interculturalism and what it will mean to Australia.
Leave a message for us here and we'll get back to you within 48 hours.
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