Australian Values Statement Essay

2257 words - 9 pages

On October 15, 2007 the government shifted from a liberal multiculturalist immigration policy to an assimilation policy. This occurs after a change in the political speech. During the early 2000’s the rhetoric became more nationalistic and Australia like many different countries focus on defining its identity. The citizenship eligibility requirements were reinforced and all applicants for provisional and permanent visa have to read and accept the Australian Values statement. These core values of the nation are summarizing by three dot point:
“ • Australian society values respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual, freedom of religion, commitment to the rule of law, Parliamentary democracy, equality of men and women and a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play and compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good
• Australian society values equality of opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background
• the English language, as the national language, is an important unifying element of Australian society.”
On a first point we will analyse the text and try to understand it purpose and the means use to attain it. Then we will focus on the three dot point and the “Australian values” defined by the state. The issue of this focus is to know if the state-defined values are promoted and recognize by the media and the population or not and if they really occur in reality. Finally we will express some of the critics made to this “Australian Values Statement” form.
We shall consider first the reasons and goals that pushed the government to create this statement and analyse its writing. On Australia Day 2006, the Prime Minister John Howard highlighted the importance of Australianness in his address to the National Press Club. In his speech the word “value” were used 11 times (Howard, 2006). This marked the start of a promoting campaign for the “Australians values”. Howard implicit speech was that the migrants wanted to go to Australia but they lacked Australianness and so needed to embrace these values or they shall not be welcome in Australia. In contrary to the precedent multiculturalist policies this speech assume that in order to be a good Australian the only way is for immigrants is to follow the values and a unique way of life defined by the state. This lead to an increased rhetoric more nationalist and highlighting the idea of national identity. According to the opposition (Australian Socialist Equality Party, 2006) the purpose of such rhetoric is to divert from real economic problem by focussing the people on nationalism issue.
The writing of the statement demonstrates its goals and expectation. The first and second point values are not particular to Australia. Many western countries share these values that find their origin during the European enlightenment and French Revolution motto (Liberty, Equality and Fraternity). We can wonder why...

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