Multicultural Affairs disappears from Executive Government yet again

The term “Multicultural” has yet again disappeared from any Ministerial title in the recently announced Abbott Ministry. This further reflects the out of date values that ignore the great strengths of Australia's diverse communities. 

The Federal Labor Party strongly believes in the amazing breadth and diversity of Australian society, and reaffirms Labor’s unwavering support for a culturally diverse and socially cohesive nation and this was reflected in Multicultural Portfolio representation.

A whole of government approach to multiculturalism was so important to the Federal Labor Government that it was elevated to an autonomous Ministry alongside two other members of the Executive for the first time in Australian political history. The provision of settlement services has also been removed from the Department of Immigration. This has significant impacts for the resource capacity of state Immigration Departments.

This is a huge blow for culturally diverse communities where Government services and settlement programs should be responsive to the different needs and challenges of each community. Tony Burke, Shadow Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship stated that before the election Tony Abbott never told anyone he was going to do this.

“Before the election I kept seeing Liberal Politicians turn up to multicultural events for the first time. They tried to tell everyone that they believed in a Multicultural Australia. This decision to exclude Multicultural Affairs is a betrayal to everyone who heard the Liberals rhetoric” Tony Burke said.

Mr Thistlethwaite said the Abbott Government's disregard for the importance of multiculturalism was concerning.

"As Australians multiculturalism is a part of our national identity. Our diversity has given us tremendous strength as a nation and provided us with a unique cultural richness. "Tony Abbott on the other hand by erasing any mention of this nation's proud multiculturalism has indicated his utter indifference to the concept of multiculturalism and its important place in the future of Australia."

Media Contacts:
Sarah Michael (T. Burke) 9750 9088
Leigh Heaney (M. Thistlethwaite) 0406 883 100
Keaghan Yaxley (K. Lundy) 02 6230 0411