The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.
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Australian Multiculturalism and Its Past, Present and Future: Harmonious Diversity and Competitive Diversity

Joint Research Coordinator SEKINE Masami

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Objectives

The concept of Australian multiculturalism was first enunciated in 1973 by Al Grassby, who was then Minister for Immigration in the Whitlam Labor government. In 1978 the concept was introduced in full-fledged fashion in the Liberal-Country Party coalition government under Malcolm Fraser based on recommendations in the Galbally Report. Thus 2008 marked the 30th anniversary of the full-scale introduction of this policy. Multiculturalism was not an outright rejection of the previous White Australia policy under which the country had grown and which stressed Australia’s position as a European country that had developed in the heart of the Asia-Pacific region. Rather the adoption of a national unification policy was designed to address post-World War II problems of inadequate population and bolster defense of the continent through a policy of mass immigration. Such policy would result in diversification of the composition of the population as well as respond to postwar changes in international relations. This research will include a multifaceted retrospective of the development of Australia’s multiculturalism over the past 30 years, elucidate the special characteristics of multiculturalism as it is now practiced, as well as the political, social and cultural conditions surrounding it, and analyze the possibilities for future trends in multiculturalism. This will include tracing the transition from multicultural symbiosis through welfare multiculturalism to economic multiculturalism through multicultural competition.

Research Results

In Australia, the reshaping and retreat of multiculturalism had become increasingly clear. In December 2007, a new Labor Party government headed by Kevin Rudd was elected. In August 2008, it undertook a rethinking of multiculturalism in an effort to counter its weakening and transformation under the previous Conservative Party government headed by John Howard. In April 2010, the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council published its report. Most of its recommendations were accepted by the new Labor Party government elected in June 2010 and headed by Julia Gillard, which announced a restoration of multicultural policy based on multiculturalism in February 2011. The responses of project members who had predicted the decline of multiculturalism were complex, but they confirmed the need to raise the question of what this new multicultural policy entails and to continue analysis of ongoing changes in the implications of multiculturalism. They demanded that we rethink multiculturalism's potential and limits. The last year of the project was, thus, a year of high drama. In a world in which multiculturalism is said to be declining, how to assess its revival in Australia deserves further research.ges in international relations. This research will include a multifaceted retrospective of the development of Australia’s multiculturalism over the past 30 years, elucidate the special characteristics of multiculturalism as it is now practiced, as well as the political, social and cultural conditions surrounding it, and analyze the possibilities for future trends in multiculturalism. This will include tracing the transition from multicultural symbiosis through welfare multiculturalism to economic multiculturalism through multicultural competition.