Canberra, Feb.16 (ANI): The Australian government has set up a new advisory body to champion multiculturalism, in the wake of growing religious extremism and incidents of racism in the country.
Last year the Australian government had been severely criticized due to its inability to curb the racist attacks on Indian students in the country.
In a speech at the Sydney Institute, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said "The new body will act as a champion for multiculturalism in the community, will advise the government on multicultural affairs and will help ensure Australian government services respond to the needs of migrant and refugee communities."
The minister said that Multicultural Advisory Council would be set up as an independent advisory body, with broader terms of reference than the current advisory council.
Bowen said," While much good work has been done in Australia over many decades, we must continue to work to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination."
He said that even though it was acceptable to say that multiculturalism was dead or to be blamed for crime and terrorism, Australia's model was unique. A national Anti-Racism Partnership and Strategy will also be established, Bowen added.
He said that respect for Australian values, citizenship centred multiculturalism and bipartisan support had resulted in "the genius of Australian multiculturalism."
The minister stated that it was important to be clear that every wave of migrants had its challenges, and inevitable questions about Muslim migrations to Australia had to be asked in this age of terrorism, reported AAP.
According to Race Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes, the new policy was an important recognition, which said that multiculturalism was not only in the national interest but a core part of the national identity.
"The announcement by the commonwealth government of this policy today affirms that our cultural diversity has defined us over generations," Mr Innes said. (ANI)