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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 7398

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER LAUNCH OF 'THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE' CANBERRA - 14 SEPTEMBER 1988

Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/09/1988

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 7398

PRIME MINISTER
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY
SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER
LAUNCH OF ' THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE'
CANBERRA 14 SEPTEMBER 1988
Any scholarly project which draws on the work of dozens of
academics working in different fields, and which coordinates
their research in many cases their new research into a
single publication ranging across historical and
contemporary issues must by definition be a important event.
This book does all that, and it is a credit to its editor,
Dr James Jupp, to all its contributors, and to its
publishers Angus and Robertson.
But what makes this book a real tour de force is its subject
matter: nothing less complex, fascinating and significant.
than the Australian people themselves.
with the publication of " The Encyclopedia of the Australian
People", a glaring gap in our understanding of ourselves has
been filled.
Now it can at last be said that the Australian community in
all its diversity and richness has received the
comprehensive and sympathetic scholarly attention it
deserves. In our Bicentennial year, when Australians are giving
renewed consideration to the question of what it means to be
an Australian, this publication is especially welcome
because it provides part of the answer. It helps us to
understand ourselves, our past and the identity we carry
into the future. I commend the Australian Bicentennial
Authority for its financial support of this book; it is a
work of real excellence, which adds great distinction to our
Bicentennial year.
" The Encyclopedia of the Australian People" is a work of
great scholarship. It is an encyclopedia of our current
knowledge of the Australian population and of contemporary
relationships within our society. It is not merely a
catalogue of the cultural and national groups that make up
Australia. it is a history of the Australian people, the
story of a community. J6
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James Jupp was extremely well qualified to undertake the
daunting task of compiling this book a task on which he
embarked in 1984. V
Like almost a quarter of the Australian population, Dr Jupp
was an immigrant. He came originally from Britain, and
since coming to Australia has held a number of academic
posts concentrating on the study of Australian immigration
and multiculturalism. His expertise is manifest in the
Encyclopedia's detailed study of the regional cultures of
the English people who formed such a large proportion of
Australian immigrants.
He is also well known as the Chairman of the Committee which
examined Government services in a multicultural society and
indeed which laid down those principles of multiculturalism
which formed the basis of Government policies in this field.
These included the establishment of the office of
Multicultural Affairs. James Jupp has worked closely with
that office and his advice is well respected. So it gives
me great pleasure to announce today that he has agreed to
formalise his relationship by becoming a member of the
Advisory Council on Multicultural Affairs. Dr Jupp will
join the other members for an important meeting this Friday
a meeting at which I will receive from the Advisory
Council their discussion paper on the National Agenda for a
Multicultural Australia.
What this book spells out in compelling and extraordinary
detail is the fact of Australia's ethnic diversity. And may
I say how pleasing it is to see, in a Bicentennial
publication, Australia's Aboriginal and Islander communities
given appropriate and detailed recognition in the
encyclopedia. The scholarship and research bought together
here will be a major information resource, which will be
relevant and valuable for years to come.
There are those today, including some unfortunately who are
based here in Parliament House, who pretend that Australians
can in some way choose whether or not we should be a
multicultural nation. The truth is of course we cannot
choose Australia's multicultural identity is an indelible
part of our social make-up today.
Just as importantly, this ethnic diversity has been a tact
of Australian life for the last two hundred years.
Australians are not really multicultural by choice. Infact,
after reading in this book about the convicts who came
here from Greece, Italy, Hungary, India, Mauritius, Russia,
the West Indies, Egypt, Persia as well as from England,
Scotland, Wales and Ireland you could conclude, from all
these enforced settlers, that in a real and literal sense
Australia became multicultural by conviction. 2007

This book details Australians of more than 100 different
cultural or national backgrounds: the British, the Irish,
the Greeks, the Italians, the Yugoslavs, the Chinese, the
Vietnamese, the Lebanese as well as some of the lesser
known and smaller groups such as the Kurds, the Manx, the
Seychellois, the Tibetans.
Today, four out of ten Australians are immigrants or their
children half of them from non-English speaking
backgrounds. As James Jupp says in his introduction, " Most
Australians tracing their descent will very quickly come
across ancestors who never lived in Australia and who
possibly had no idea where it was."
In my ' awn case, great-grandparents on both sides of my
family came from Cornwall. I was impressed to see in
" The Encyclopedia of the Australian People" such a lengthy
and informative section devoted to the Cornish men and women
who came to Australia and especially those who created the
mining industries in South Australia. May I say I am proud
to be a descendant of those Cornish miners.
Because what was true of the Co ' rnish experience is true of
dozens of other Australians from other lands and cultures.
AS this book describes, they were motivated to uproot
themselves and their families and to embark on the hazardous
journey to Australia where, upon arrival, through hard work,
they secured the foundation of their own prosperity and the
prosperity of their new land Australia.
And they did this without losing contact with or pride in
their own traditions and ways of life.
That is the Australian achievement that people of
different backgrounds can become Australians if they possess
this sole requirement: commitment to Australia, to its
interests and to its future. That commitment is what unites
this nation of many cultures and many traditions.
The openness of Australians, our willingness and
preparedness to accept people as individuals, to give
everyone a fair go, our tolerance, acceptance and respect
these are not attributes of which to be afraid but
attributes in which we can all take pride.
They are attributes that can't be confected or imposed with
conformist, repressive enjoinders like " One Australia".
That way lies insecurity, friction and division.
We are one Australia because we all have the common
cominent to our country Australia and that Australia
is the stronger, the richer because of the diversity of our
backgrounds and the total absence of any semblance or
suggestion of discrimination in our immigration policies.
And, ladies and gentlemen, I pledge to you that as far as
this Prime Minister and this Government are concerned that
is the way it will remain and unequivocally remain.
2008

4.
This book will be a valuable resource and reference for many
Australians. It is one of those books that should be read,
by all Australians. It is something which I personally am
very proud to be associated with. I have great pleasure in
launching it.
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Transcript 7398