Ethnic communities have high level of visibility in Australia however “identity” remains an ongoing issue in the face of changing media landscape, funding challenges and globalization.
This session was facilitated by Dr. Seweryn Antoni “Sev” Ozdowski AM, Chair Australian Multicultural Council. He shared with the delegates some interesting statistical facts and figures. 66% of Australian feel they are comfortable with the culture and the customs brought in by the immigrants while 60% Australian feels people who come to Australia should change their behavior once they are here. This year the survey has shown less hostile attitude towards immigrants. Historical evidences have shown 45% of Australian have at least one or both parents who were born overseas.
Now language plays an important role and is an expression and extension of our culture. Language is sincerely very important and its important to pass on our language to our children. It will sustain our own roots and traditions and gives an Australian identity.
The next Speaker was Joseph Caputo OAM JP, Chairperson of Federation of Ethnic Communities Council (FECCA). He started the conversation with his own transition from overseas to Australia. Born in Italy and then migrating to Brazil to meet his father after 5 years with limited technology, he along with his family decided to move to Melbourne to start fresh. He then joined 3zzz ( a overnment run radio) which really connected him well with the local community. He also reflected on the structure of the society. Rightly pointed out towards the fact that “Media does not reflect contemporary Australia. Talking about Identity its a complex issue. Currently chairing FECCA and managing 20 executives-the committee feels that there is still under-representation on the committee while the government feels that 20 number is massive. There are organisational conflicts at times but with his 40 years of multicultural experience -all good if the aims and objectives are met. He then talked about FECCA & ECC.
Next after Joseph was Dr. Peter Gale, Postgraduate Program Director in the School of Communication, International Studies and languages, in the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences (EASS) at the University of South Australia. This is a challenging phase in the Australian history post Donald-Hillary election campaign.Donald Trump didn’t win because he was capable but won out of fear and ignorance. Now the term “discourses” need to be discussed in detail to address the “The great Australian Silence” which is thinking outside our comfort zone. Australia identified as a “Fair Go Nation” has limited discourses. One need to think beyond the perception of crisis related to the Migrant Australia. With the declining intake of refugee (around 7% in between 2013-2014), our stand as a Humanitarian Nation is challenging. Pictures speak a thousand words. The shocking pictures of children affected in war-torn countries have shaken the world. The world is now responding to these startling revelations. If we talk about Representation- There is no meaning without an image.In the end Pete posed a question before the audience: How do you shape and broaden this discourse?
Next after Peter was Ms Tanya Hosch, Australian Football League (AFL), General Manager, Inclusion and Social Policy. Tanya talked about the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander culture and emphasized how identify identification is so important and may be more significant than Racism. She discussed her personnel journey with the delegates and it was amazing how her journey has shaped so far; although she still struggles with her own identity in real sense. She talked about AFL which has left a massive footprint in Australia. Players are spectacular and AFL really talks about social cohesion, diversity and inclusion in the society. The policies are framed in taking into consideration Indigenous and Multicultural community. There are great opportunities for Partnerships. During the peak season its viewed by more than 8 million Australian every week. In 2014 it broadcast in ethnic languages. AFL is very passionate to engage more with NEMBC and other ethnic organisations and groups.
Next after Tanya was Ms Terrie Leoleos, NSW Multicultural Ageing and Disability Access Officer, ECCNSW. She talked about the Aged Care reforms which is funded by Federal government under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme and State Government-Ageing Disability and Home Care. The objective of her presentation was to overcome barriers, improve access and empower CALD people to make informed choices about their caring needs.There are heaps of resources available on the Australian Aged care system on ECCNSW website. The main issues identified were access, language appropriate support, appropriate materials and resources, trusted ethnic media, culturally appropriate and sensitive services, tailored services, choice, connect to family and the broader community. She also talked about the role of media in a changing market and advocated for more Partnership and Collaboration.