The People of Australia, the Australian Multicultural Affairs Council's statement on cultural diversity and its recommendations to government, is presented to Australian government ministers for immigration and multicultural affairs at Melbourne's Immigration Museum.
National Congress of Australia's First Peoples launched, becoming the first national Indigenous representative body to be established since the dismantling of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in 2005.
The Victorian Premier and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, John Brumby announces support to the value of $12 million would be provided for the development of cultural precincts as part of the Cultural Precincts and Community Infrastructure Fund in the state budget.
Responding to community concern expanded community-based detention arrangements (formally known as residence determination) for unaccompanied minors and vulnerable families are announced by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.
The Australian Government signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Afghanistan, permitting the involuntary repatriation of failed Afghan asylum-seekers from Australia to Afghanistan, including unaccompanied minors and other Afghan children who have become separated from their families.
The Manager of Multicultural programs, NSW Department of Education and Training, publishes online the department's Anti-Racism Policy which commits the department to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination in its schools and worksites.
With advice from the Australian Multicultural Affairs Council, the Australian Government announces a new multicultural policy, The People of Australia, which recognises the breadth and diversity of Australian society and reaffirms the government’s support for a culturally diverse and socially cohesive nation. The policy [PDF] has four principles with supporting initiatives.
The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship announces that the Australian Government has delivered on its commitment to move the majority of children in immigration detention into community-based arrangements.
A research report by Dr Graeme Hugo, one of Australia's leading demographers, is released, highlighting the many economic, civic and social contributions made by refugees and humanitarian entrants to Australian society.
The Australian Government signs an arrangement with the Malaysian Government to transfer 800 asylum seekers who arrive by boat in Australia to Malaysia, in return for Australia resettling 4,000 refugees out of Malaysia over the next four years. The policy is condemned by NGOs in Australia and around the world.
The Scanlon Foundation releases the Mapping Social Cohesion Report 2011. The report examines people's attitudes on a range of topics from social harmony, immigration, asylum seekers, intolerance, and trust in government. It confirms that more than 94 per cent of respondents have a strong sense of belonging and a majority support policies that foster and maintain a shared sense of community.
The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them celebrates its 30th anniversary. RCOA's own work is centred around five key areas: policy, support for refugees, support for its members, community education and administration.
The number of places available in the Migration Program for 2012–13 is 190 000, which is 5000 more than the 2011–12 planning level. Of the 5000 places, 3400 are allocated to the Skilled stream. This is to help meet the demand for skilled migrants.
The Prime Minister invites the former chief of Australia's defence force to lead an expert panel to report on the best way forward for Australia to prevent asylum seekers risking their lives on dangerous boat journeys to Australia.
The Stronger Futures policy, a multifaceted social policy of the Australian government concerning the aboriginal population of the Northern Territory is passed by the Senate. The policy intends to address key issues that exist within these communities such as unemployment, school attendance and enrollment, alcohol abuse, community safety and child protection, food security, and housing and land reforms. Several years of similar initiatives have preceded the policy, including the Building Stronger Regions, Stronger Futures policy, New Local Government policy, and the Northern Territory Emergency Response Act.
To support the Australian Government's new multicultural policy, The People of Australia, the National Anti-Racism Strategy is launched. The Strategy, which will be implemented between 2012 and 2015, has been developed through a partnership led by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
It includes the Racism. It stops with me. campaign which calls on all members of the Australian community to work towards eradicating the barriers to equality that result from racism. It aims to ensure more Australians recognise that racism is unacceptable in our community, give more Australians the tools and resources to take practical action against racism and empower individuals and organisations to prevent and respond effectively to racism.
The Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers is released. The panel makes 22 recommendations to shape Australian policymaking on asylum seeker issues. It is the Panel's view that the balance of risk and incentive must be shifted in favour of regular migration pathways and established international protections, and against dangerous maritime migration. A 'no advantage' principle should apply whereby irregular migrants gain no benefit by choosing to circumvent regular migration mechanisms."
The Prime Minister launches the Australian Multicultural Council. The AMC's priorities are to advise the government on multicultural affairs, have a formal role in a strengthened access and equity strategy, have a research and advisory role around multicultural policy, assist with cultural diversity celebrations and Harmony Day activities and to implement a 'People of Australia Ambassadors' Program to articulate the benefits of, and help celebrate, our multicultural nation.
In February 2011, the government launched The People of Australia – Australia's Multicultural Policy. One of the policy's key initiatives is to provide funding for Multicultural Arts and Festivals Grants (MAFG). The Department of Immigration and citizenship invites application for grants. $125 000 per financial year has been allocated to MAFG over the four years to 2014–15.
The Multicultural Youth Sports Partnership (MYSP) program is an initiative of the Australian Government and forms a key part of Australia’s multicultural policy. The objective of the program is to create sustainable opportunities for youth from new and emerging communities and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) to participate in sport and physical activity within local communities. $900,000 is committed over three years to the MYSP program, which commenced in 2011-12 . Applications are invited by the Australian Sports Commission.
In September 2012 the Australian Government re-commences transferring asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia by boat to Nauru. These transferees’ claims for protection will be processed under the laws of Nauru.
The Commonwealth Attorney-General appoints Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs to the Australian Human Rights Commission as its President. Professor Triggs hopes to focus her Presidency on the implementation in Australian law of the human rights treaties to which Australia is a party, and to work with nations in the Asia Pacific region on practical approaches to human rights.
In November the Australian Government recommences transferring asylum seekers to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG). These transferees’ claims for protection will be processed under the laws of Papua New Guinea.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) commences the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey which will improve knowledge of the health issues affecting this group of Australians.
With support from across Parliament the House of Representatives passes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition (in the Australian Constitution) Bill 2012. The Bill includes a statement of recognition of the unique and special place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that largely reflects the wording suggested by the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Amendments to South Australia’s Constitution include a statement of acknowledgement and respect which records the Apology to the Stolen Generation given in Parliament in 1997, acknowledges and respects Aboriginal peoples as the State’s first peoples and nations, recognises Aboriginal peoples as traditional owners and occupants of the land and waters in South Australia and acknowledges that the Aboriginal peoples have endured past injustices and dispossession of their traditional lands and waters.
Australia’s population reaches 23 million and is growing by an estimated 1000 people every day. Australia's population is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse populations in the world. Australians have over 200 birthplaces and .speak over 200 languages.
The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship announces that bridging visas may also apply to families who arrive by boat and seek asylum. Some families may be released into the community on bridging visas but will remain subject to regional processing arrangements and will be not be processed any faster than had they waited in a refugee camp overseas. The ‘no advantage’ principle still applies.
Australian of the Year and AFL legend, Adam Goodes urges Australians to take a stand against racism and speak out when they hear racist comments.
He features in a Community Service Announcement developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission. Adam Goodes shares anti-racism message video clip