Australian government has been agonizing at the growth of terrorism among some of the immigrant communities in Europe and USA. Its think tanks have been working hard on how to keep Australian multiculturalism a continuing success story. The Australian Government wants newly arrived migrants to succeed by integrating and make the most of the opportunities while maintaining a cohesive society.
Hindu Council of Australia welcomes the Integration multiculturalism model of Australia and calls upon all Hindus in Australia to integrate as proud citizens. Hindus can demonstrate their successful integration in Australia by
- Taking employment and contribute to society and have an immediate network of Australian people to interact with.
- Become an entrepreneur even it if it is by starting a small business thereby creating business and employment in Australia
- Interact with your neighbors and become part of local community groups
- Secure success for your children, which in large part is done through higher education.
- Stay out of poverty and flourish.
- Reach the highest levels of society; in business, politics and the arts.
- Support Australian charities
Most Hindus place a strong emphasis on employment as most Hindu migrants to Australia have been skilled migrants only. Many Hindus who came as non-skilled migrants under family reunion, students or other schemes have taken up small business like grocery shops, franchise of food restaurants etc. There are very few Hindus who live in poverty after having been in the country for more than a few years.
Hindu Council of Australia has started many projects to help Hindus achieve these goals of integration. These projects include :
- Karma Kitchen – to help feed the homeless and thereby help the Australians in poverty
- Hindu Chaplaincy – To help people in crisis by providing emotional support in Australian institutions like Hospitals, Jails etc
- Diwali Art Space Exhibition – To bring Hindu Art among Australian Art galleries and buyers
- Gargi Woman Award – To recognize contribution of individual Australian women on behalf of Australian Hindu community
- International Yoga Day – Help other communities in Australia to benefit from Yoga
- Interfaith forums – To mingle with and increase the understanding between communities
- Ecology and Vegetarianism – Hindu Council has been working with a number of multi-faith organisations like the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change and Faith Ecology Network to promote actions for addressing the impact of climate change.
- Education – Provide a platform of eLearning for non-Hindu individuals and Australian institutes like Police etc to learn about Hindu sensitivities and Hinduism
- Diwali Mela – to preserve music, dance and other culture and provide a glimpse of it to non-Hindus
- Organ donation – to promote cohesiveness between communities and health of Australians
Hindu council plans to start new projects to
- Bring Hindus boys and girls into popular sports like Cricket, Swimming and Rugby
- Encourage Hindu youths to join police, army, the legal profession and trades such as plumbing, mechanics, electrical repair, tiler etc so that Hindu youth easily integrate with wider Australian community
- To help those in politics to connect with Hindus at gross root level and to raise Hindu voice in elected bodies
- Encourage Hindus in Business and mentor each other through a Business Council.
According to Alan Tudge, MP and Minister for Citizenship and Multicutural Affairs of Australia, our multiculturalism is different to what is termed “multiculturalism” in other nations (particularly European ones) due to our strong emphasis on integration.
Integration according to Minister Tudge, means that a person who comes here shares our values, engages in the community and has full rights to government services. In exchange they must obey the law, participate and uphold democratic principles and support other Australians. They make friends at work and in their neighbourhood and hopefully join or start sporting or other community clubs.
This model of integrated multiculturalism is different to an “assimilationist” model or a “separatist” model. Assimilation is the idea that we must all be identical, and abandon our cultural and religious heritage. We don’t expect or want that in Australia, says the Minsiter. Where there are conflicts in cultural behaviours, Australian law and values must prevail, but otherwise we welcome the diversity that people can bring from being born elsewhere.
A separatist model of multiculturalism, while being the opposite to assimilation, is when people bring their entire practices, languages and cultures and plant them into the new land, with little desire to share or mix in with their local community. They live side by side, rather than merged with the existing population.
Separatism is resulting in the “slow death of Europe” as groups effectively colonise parts of it and erode the values that made Europe so prosperous, free and (consequently) attractive to migrants.
The successful Australian model is one of integration; not assimilation and not separatism, says the Australian Government.
Minister’s speech can be found here