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Victoria Minister for Multicultural Affairs & Citizenship Nicholas Kotsiras

Combating Racism Needs Bipartisan Approach

Victor P Taffa

Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Nicholas Kotsiras today welcomed the results from the Challenging Racism Project, funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, which showed that nearly 90 % of survey respondents across Victoria agreed that our multicultural composition is a good thing.

The Data shows that Victoria is leading other states in accepting and being at ease with cultural diversity, however we cannot be complacent and more work needs to be done.

The results highlight incidents of disrespect for others and concerns that some groups do not fit into Australian society. Nearly 85 % of respondents believe there is racial prejudice in Australia and this demonstrates that we must remain vigilant in combating forms of racism in our community.

“Australia is one of the most religiously, culturally and linguistically diverse nations in the world. Australians are open-minded, welcoming and supportive of our cultural diversity.” Mr. Kotsiras said.

“While many agree that our cultural and religious diversity is one of our greatest strengths, some see it as divisive and dangerous and cite overseas conflicts and isolated violence on our streets as reminders that multiculturalism does not work.”

“Racism does not occur because Australia has embraced multiculturalism. Racism is nurtured in nations where Governments attempt to suffocate cultural and religious diversity.” Mr. Kotsiras said.

“Australian citizenship is the basis on which to build a strong and unified society, where individuals learn from each other and together help to forge a more inclusive and harmonious society.”

“The Coalition Government is committed to implementing strong and balanced multicultural policies. These can lay the foundation to combat racism and separatism.” Mr. Kotsiras said.

“In the Australian context, people and communities adapt their cultures within an overall inclusive culture, one that unifies us by our commitment to our nation and its democratic institutions, laws, values and a ‘fair go’ for all.”

“A strong multicultural policy which is understood and accepted can be a tool to diminish racism and separatism. It can create the roadmap on how we can build on the strengths of having a diverse society, but it needs bipartisan support at all levels of Government to succeed.”

“At the end of the day, it’s the difference that makes the difference.” Mr. Kotsiras said.

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