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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 7961

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER LAUNCH OF ALP POLICY ON IMMIGRATION, ETHNIC AFFAIRS AND MULTICULTURALISM MELBOURNE - 15 MARCH 1990

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: 15/03/1990

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 7961

PRIME MINISTER
EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER
LAUNCH OF ALP POLICY ON IMMIGRATION, ETHNIC AFFAIRS
AND MULTICULTURALISM
MELBOURNE 15 MARCH 199o
Friends It gives me enormous satisfaction to stand before you today
and to welcome you, as my Government has always welcomed
you, as " fellow Australians".
Satisfaction that, in those two words, is summed up the
vision of a genuinely multicultural Australia to which all
our people no matter what their birthplace or their
colour, their religion or first language -can feel
committed. Satisfaction and also pride. Because if there is one
thing that our seven years of Government will have proved to
our ethnic communities, and which they will bear in mind as
they cast their vote on March 24, it is that the Labor
Government delivers.
My Government does not indulge in hollow rhetoric and smooth
slogans. It delivers substance, realistic policies and real
answers. It does not look back with misplaced nostalgia to a
supposedly uniform Australia that has never existed. It
looks forward to a vibrant and diverse Australia in which
all our people live and work together as equals, in harmony.
It does not remember its ethnic communities only when there
ian election on. It consults with them, with their
representatives, with their media, as part of the routine of
Government. Friends If you think bock over the last term of my Government, and
when you examine our achievements in the area of immigration
policy, ethnic affairs and multiculturalism, you will
recognise one unarguable truth. We do not, nor will we
ever, sell out our principles for short-term political
advantage. 1-1.3 i I U A I

On that you have my word.
We will not, explicitly or implicitly, seek to return to an
immigration policy which discriminates between people on the
basis of ethnic origin.
We will not, by the sly wink or discreet nudge, treat some
Australians as more Australian than others.
We will not, by carefully avoiding the word, seek to water
down our vision of a multicultural Australia offering equal
opportunity for all.
In 1983 I gave my word.
I outlined a vision of an Australia bound together by
co-operation and consensus, rather than torn and divided by
confrontation. I promised to lead Australia to a future
free of prejudice and discrimination and offering equal
opportunity for all our people.
In the policy I launch today is set out the record of my
Governments since 1983 in the area of immigration, ethnic
and multicultural affairs.
I am very happy to stand before you on this record.
It lays the foundations for the future.
It lies at the very heart of the program that I delivered at
the ALP policy launch in Brisbane just over a week ago.
At that launch I presented a comprehensive, realistic,
responsible and achievable plan for Australia's future.
I set forward an agenda for a fair society with opportunity
open to all Australians wherever they were horn, whatever
their background.
Those of you who watched the launch will have been moved, as
all of us present were, at the stirring rendition given to
our national anthem by a young Australian, Clare Gormley,
who can trace her roots to Ireland, Germany and Papua New
Guinea. Her talent and self-confidence symbolized the
changing face of Australia. As her voice rang out, it bore
testimony to the way in which Australia has welcomed
ffilgrants to our great nation from all corners of the globe
and, by accepting their diverse cultures, ensured their
commitment to Australian institutions.
Friends
Never have you had a clearer choice.
Never have you faced a starker contrast.
The Liberal/ National Coalition seeks to deny opportunity and
entrench privilege.

The Labor Party will continue to enlarge equality of
opportunity for all.
Look at our record.
Three years ago I gave my word that the Australian
Government would adopt Australia's first National Policy on
Languages. We did, and the achievements speak for
themselves. Migrants, both kids at school and their parents, have
benefitted from greatly increased expenditure. Today it
stands at $ 162 million, up more than 50 per cent on the last
year of the Liberal Government.
We have expanded our financial help for teaching community
languages to your children. We have provided some 823
million over the last 3 years for a Second language Learning
Program, set up the Languages Institute of Australia, and
increased funding for ethnic schools. Spending on conmmunity
languages has increased fivefold under my Government.
Three years ago I gave my word that we would present a
National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia. I know that
many people were sceptical whether we would deliver. We
did. Last July my Government committed $ 89 million to a series of
concrete initiatives. As a result:
SBS television is being progressively extended
the barriers to the recognition of overseas skills and
qualifications, of which many of you have had
unfortunate experience, are coming down
a major campaign to improve community relations is
being set in place in spite, I am saddened to say, of
criticism from the Liberals and Nationals.
Three years ago I gave my word that an Access and Equity
policy would be pursued with vigour to ensure that the
Government's programs and services would be equally
available to all. We have fulfilled that pledge
in 1989/ 90, the budget on settlement services provided
by the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs is
$ 127.5 million, more than 50 percent greater than in
1983/ 84
an extra $ 3 million has been set aside to ensure
migrants get equal access to community and health
services, local government, and consumer education
million has been earmarked for residential care for
ethnic older people
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employment and training programs have been targetted to
non-English speaking migrants, so that they have
benefitted equally from our record levels of employment
growth. It is a matter of fact that 1.6 million jobs
have been created under my Labor Government: it is a
matter of pride that a quarter of those jobs have gone
to migrant workers.
Three years ago I gave my word that we would review our
immigration policy and overhaul our outdated Migration Act.
We have.
It is a complex business, and the new regulations are at
times confusing. It is for that reason that my colleague,
Robert Ray, who has worked assiduously and with great
integrity in the Immigration portfolio, has recently
announced grants to Migrant Resource Centres to provide free
advice on migration matters to stop migrants being ripped
of f by unscrupulous profit-making migration agents.
I do not claim that our new regulations are yet perfect.
Robert has made clear that some of the criticism has been
fair. But he has also said, and I agree totally, that
clearly defined and publicly available rules for decisionmaking
will introduce more certainty, consistency and
fairness to the operation of migration policy.
And I say also, loudly and clearly, that the hallmark of the
Hawke Government is a willingness to listen to ethnic
communities and where necessary to act. If there remain
unintended consequences to some of the new regulations you
have my word that we will change them.
Friends Contained in the document before you today is a remarkable
record. It sets out a path to a fair and tolerant Australia
along which we will continue to stride undeterred by those
who seek to change our direction.
In my next term as your Prime Minister, my Government will:
continue to develop further the National Policy on
Languages support a balanced program of second language learning
for all, including for the languages of our ethnic and
Aboriginal communities
establish a National Bureau of Language Services to
provide better interpreter and language services across
the nation
continue its high level of commitment to English
language teaching 9jI

Al,
open up greater opportunities for overseas-trained mi.
migrants et
give the Special Broadcasting Service its own thlegislative
base and charter, and further extend the l
reach of SBS TV mi,
provide traineeships for non-English speaking An.
background Australians in the ABC and SBS th in
ensure equality of opportunity in education by ri
expanding the Disadvantaged Schools Program Se
provide extra funding for special child care services Th'
to meet the needs of migrant children x
maintain the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity s
Commission as an independent statutory body Atu
and keep the Office of Multicultural Affairs withi my t
own portfolio.
I am also delighted to announce today a bold, new initiative c
the creation of a nationally networked ethnic radio news Al
and current affairs service. p)
585 Radio already produces excellent community language f
programs on 3EA in Melbourne and 2EA in Sydney. Public r
broadcasting stations such as the newly established 3ZZ
in this city, 5EBI in Adelaide, 4EB in Brisbane and 6EBA in
Perth ensure that ethnic communities have access to the
airwaves. Now, through the Public Broadcasting Foundation, h
SBS will be funded to produce objective, professional news il
and community information programs in at least fifteen h
languages and air-time will be bought from public stations h;
to broadcast them. e:
in this way both the 585 and public broadcasters will
benefit from additional funding of $ 3.4 million over a three Y
year period. More importantly, ethnic communities around n
Australia will be able to receive on a regular basis high
quality programs in their first language.
It is not only the ethnic communities in our cities that c
will benefit from this measure. Communities such as the
Greeks, Italians, Turks and Vietnamese who are making such a
19luable contribution in our rural areas will now, some of M
them for the first time, be able to listen to radio programs
in the language that they speak at home.
This is multiculturalism at work.
And what does the Liberal/ National Party Coalition offer? C
First, it offers funding cuts.
1; 4 0

Already the Coalition has announced that it will slash
million from the budget of the Department of Immigration and
Ethnic Affairs $ 20 million that might otherwise go on
settlement services for migrants $ 20 million removed from
the Immigration budget at the very moment the Coalition
plans a significant increase in the intake of economic
migrants. And that, my friends, is only the beginning. As they
themselves now admit, there would have to be draconian cuts
in the second and third year to finance their pitch to the
rich. Second, the Coalition offers division.
Their policy proposes to treat some migrants differently
from others. It would deny migrants access to our social
security benefits for at least their first twelve months in
Australia. No matter that they have chosen Australia as
their home. No matter that they are subject to Australian
taxes from their first day here. If they are not a refugee,
then they would not be entitled to sickness benefits, not
entitled to an invalid pension, not entitled to unemployment
benefits. At the same time, the Coalition intends to reduce the
proportion of migrants allowed to come and join their
families in Australia. Well may they talk of " the harsh
reality". It is they who seek to create it.
And finally, the Coalition offers fear.
It fears ethnic communities. It is for that reason that it
has attacked us for ensuring that our policies are presented
in the ethnic press. While the Australian Labor Party is
holding a special launch of its ethnic affairs policy, as it
has in each of the last 3 elections, the Liberal Party has
expunged the word " ethnic" from their election policy
statement of last week.
You, my friends in the ethnic communities, are presumably
not part of the Liberal ' Answer'.
It is perhaps fear too which explains why the Coalition
seeks to make it harder for migrants to become Australian
c tizens.
I see that in an interview with SBS radio last week
Mr Peacock sought to deny this was Liberal Party policy. I
suggest that he take a break from glib sloganeering and
actually read the Immigration Policy document of his own
Party. There it states, unequivocally, that under a Coalition
Government, migrants would have to live in Australia for
four years before being eligible for citizenship: four
years, my friends, not two as is the case now. 4 I

In stark contrast, I was proud to launch in 1988 The Year of
Citizenship. As I participated in ceremonies across our
land, and as migrants came forward in record numbers to make
their ultimate commitment to our nation, it was impossible
not to feel elation. Here were people from 140 countries
around the world, choosing Australia as their home. And,
having chosen, participating as you are participating in
our democratic traditions.
Friends fellow Australians
The choice on March 24 could not be plainer.
Over the last few years the Australian Labor Party has stood
by our ethnic communities when the going was at its
toughest. We will continue to fight discrimination and intolerance in
any of their invidious forms.
We will continue to hold firm to our belief in multicultural
policies to manage Australia's growing diversity.
We will continue to ensure that our programs and services
are equally available to all.
We will continue to listen to the voice of our great ethnic
communities. We will always do so, no matter what the political cost. On
that you have my solemn word.
Together, during my fourth term as Prime Minister, we will
work together to build a fair, just and tolerant Australia
for our children and grandchildren.
1; 4 0' X?

Transcript 7961