Who are we? Behind the scenes of multiculturalism in Australia

Sandra Blumberg

Research output: Contribution to journalConference paperpeer-review


This article is part of a doctoral project that employs qualitative case study research to explore how employees manage the challenges of cultural diversity in the workplace in Australia, as well as the experiences they encounter in their work with stakeholders from different cultural backgrounds. A critical review of the Australian government’s contemporary approach to multiculturalism, which has been state policy since 1973 and undergone a number of interpretations by successive governments, demonstrates that despite visible attempts to celebrate cultural diversity in public, migrants in Australia continue to face inequalities. Contrasting multiculturalism and cultural pluralism indicates that the Australian model of cultural diversity is not as straightforward as it may seem at first glance. While some elements indeed reflect the ideas of multiculturalism, others fail to meet even the fundamental criteria of both multiculturalism and cultural pluralism. Adding the extent of discrimination, violence and racism that persists within Australian society despite wellestablished legislation and nation-wide initiatives, the government has recently made controversial comments about other nations’ approach to multiculturalism. The ethnocentric views displayed by the government in relation to Australian norms and traditions, values and beliefs new migrants and citizens are expected to adhere to raises the question of how dedicated it is to actually pursuing its multicultural policy. The article concludes that Australia is not the multicultural society it envisions to be, but, in confronting migrants with inequalities in many layers of life, is moving further and further away from achieving this goal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalNEO : journal for higher degree research in the social sciences and humanities
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventFaculty of Arts higher degree research and honours conference (2011) - Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 1 Nov 20111 Nov 2011


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