Buổi điều trần về chính sách đa văn hoá của Úc

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Trong mấy tháng qua chính phủ liên bang, qua Uỷ Ban Phát Triển Đa Văn Hóa (Select Committee on Strengthening Multiculturalism) và BCH CĐNVTD/VIC đã làm việc cùng CĐNVTD Liên Bang Úc Châu để đệ trình lên Ủy Ban một bản phúc trình dựa vào những câu hỏi, tiền đề theo sự hướng dẫn của Uỷ Ban (xin xem bản phúc trình đính kèm bên dưới).

Xét qua bản phúc trình của CĐNVTD Úc Châu, trình bày về những quan điểm, sự quan tâm, ý kiến đóng góp để phát triển và làm phong phú hóa chính sách đa văn hóa, CĐNVTD/VIC cùng một số các cộng đồng sắc tộc khác đã được mời ra điều trần trước Uỷ Ban vào ngày Thứ Ba 27/06/2017 tại Multicultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth St, Melbourne.

Hiện diện trong buổi điều trần có ông Tim Watling (Thư Ký Uỷ Ban),  Thượng Nghị Sĩ Jonathon Duniam, Thượng Nghị Sĩ Richard Di Natale, Thượng Nghị Sĩ Patrick Dodson (qua điện thoại). Đại diện cho CĐNVTD/VIC có cô Phượng Vỹ (Chủ Tịch) và cô Trương Việt Hương (PCT), cùng điều trần trong khoảng thời gian (time window) quy định còn có cộng đồng Hy Lạp.

Mở đầu buổi điều trần cô Phượng Vỹ và cô Việt Hương đã trình bày cùng Uỷ Ban các luận điểm nói về những thách thức và thành công của chính sách đa văn hóa (xin nghe phần thâu âm):

– Theo thông kê năm 2015, hiện có trên 230 000 người Việt có sinh quan ở Việt Nam đang đinh cư tại Úc. Đây là thế hệ thứ nhất, thế hệ lót đường cho các thế hệ thứ hai, thứ ba đang vươn lên, là những nhân chứng sống của chính sách đa văn hóa Úc;

– Vượt qua những khó khăn, thách thức lúc ban đầu, nay cộng đồng Người Việt đã có những thành công và đóng góp đáng kể cho xã hội đa văn hóa Úc trong mọi lãnh vực và ngành nghề. Nhất là tham gia các sinh hoạt thiện nguyện với tinh thần và bản sắc Việt Nam nhưng luôn tự hào là một công dân Úc.

– Chính sách đa văn hóa đã làm cho nước Úc càng ngày càng giàu mạnh hơn, đấy cũng là nhờ vào sự hỗ trợ của chính giới Úc, nhất là dưới thời chính phủ Malcolm Fraser;

– Cũng như thế hệ đi trước các thế hệ thứ hai, thứ ba cũng gặp phải những vấn đề kỳ thị, phân biệt dưới nhiều hình thức khác nhau.

Khi được hỏi về những chi tiết riêng biệt có liên quan đến trường hợp cá nhân cũng như cộng đồng Người Việt, cô Phượng Vỹ, cô Việt Hương đã thay phiên nhau trình bày và nhấn mạnh thêm về các điểm –

– Sự quan trọng của vấn đề lãnh đạo, không chỉ ở các cấp cao mà ngay ở những cấp thấp, nhất là ở ngay trong cộng đồng như cộng đồng Người Việt. Do đó chương trình Khóa Lãnh Đạo Hai Nguồn Gốc, là một chương trình đã nhận được sự hỗ trợ của chính giới Úc, đã giúp cho các thế hệ con em người Việt thuộc thế hệ thứ hai, thứ ba biết và hiểu được nguồn gốc của chính mình rồi từ đó đã đóng góp cho xã hội đa văn hóa Úc qua những nét văn hóa mang bản sắc Việt Nam;

– Chính quyền địa phương đóng một vai trò quan trọng trong vấn đề tham gia của người dân qua việc tiếp xúc, tìm hiểu và cảm thông các trường hợp cá nhân. Các công ty, xí nghiệp (thuộc lãnh vực tư nhân) cũng có vai trò đóng góp cho xã hội đa văn hóa qua việc tuyển dụng nhân viên có những nguồn gốc (văn hóa) khác nhau;

– Hệ thống giáo dục phải có những chương trình giúp cho học sinh hiểu về sự đa dạng, đa văn hóa của xã hội Úc. Chính quyền cần phải tham khảo ý kiến của các cộng đồng sắc tộc và cung cấp những dịch vụ cần thiết giúp cho tiến trình hội nhập và sự đóng góp của mọi sắc dân, nhất là những người mới đến;

– Sự trao đổi, giao tiếp với/giữa các cộng đồng sắc tộc (cá nhân cũng như hội đoàn, đoàn thể và chính quyền các cấp) rất quan trọng và cần thiết cho cuộc sống hài hòa và đoàn kết trong một xã hội đa văn hóa. Tạo cơ hội cho người dân (sắc tộc) có tiếng nói và biết lắng nghe, có như thế thì mới xây dựng được một xã hội đa văn hóa ngày càng tốt đẹp;

– Sư giằn co giữa hai nền văn hóa (khi phải sống) trong hai môi trường khác nhau – lúc ở nhà với gia đình và khi đến trường hay ra ngoài xã hội. Nhưng với một nền giáo dục tốt, với sự trưởng thành và kinh nghiệm giao tiếp, việc “bước ra và bước vào” giữa hai thế giới, hai môi trường với hai nền văn hóa khác nhau sẽ được thực hiện dễ dàng hơn.

Là một đất nước đa văn hóa, bao dung, buổi điều trần trước một ủy ban gồm các Thượng Nghị Sĩ (senators, còn được gọi là các nhà làm luật – lawmakers) có mục đích tìm hiểu và lắng nghe sự quan tâm, những quan điểm và đóng góp ý kiến của các cộng đồng sắc tộc nhằm xây dựng một xã hội đa văn hóa ngày càng tốt đẹp hơn qua việc bàn thảo và đưa ra những luật lệ cần thiết.

Riêng về phía cộng đồng Người Việt thì “việc đóng góp vào chính sách đa văn hoá là một trách nhiệm của chúng ta, những người Việt đã được thừa hưởng rất nhiều từ chính sách này, và từ những chính sách nhân đạo của cố Thủ Tướng Malcolm Fraser cũng như tấm lòng bác ái của người dân Úc trước làn sóng tỵ nạn người Việt sau biến cố 30/4/1975.” (Thông Báo của CĐNVTD/VIC)

Melbourne
27/06/2017

 

http://www.spaceunlimit.net/lh/2017/tt/SenateHearing_4855.mp3

 

 

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Submission to the Select Committee on Strengthening Multiculturalism
Committee Secretary
Select Committee on Strengthening Multiculturalism
Department of the Senate
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: 02 6277 3228
Fax: 02 6277 5829
multiculturalism.sen@aph.gov.au

About the Vietnamese Community in Australia (VCA)
Following the end of the Vietnam War, Australia took in many Vietnamese refugees from the early1980s. During this time, family reunions took place, creating another wave of Vietnamese migration to Australia. 56,000 Vietnamese settled in Australia as refugees by the end of 1990s under humanitarian programs. In the 1990s more Vietnamese arrived in Australia through business migration, or as international students, and spouse unions. These different waves created an overwhelmingly successful story for multicultural Australia, notwithstanding settlement challenges. Australia now sees over 230,200 (ABS, 2015) Vietnamese born living in Australia, who have paved the path for many more second and third generation Vietnamese Australians who are thriving and living proof of multicultural Australia.

The Vietnamese community, like many other ethnic communities, has its own cultural perceptions and values.  The post-war period was the first time in the history of Vietnam that saw an exodus of Vietnamese people seeking refuge elsewhere.  The refugees resettled in many different countries across the world and over time establish a set of values with their own overseas Vietnamese refugee communities.

Common amongst Vietnamese overseas, and in Australia, are the strong values placed on culture, language, and identity. To understand and embrace one’s culture and identity is to help us contribute and participate gladly and productively in our respective multicultural nations.

(I)    Commitment to multicultural Australia is vital to our nation’s success
STATEMENT 1 – The views and experiences of people from culturally and linguistically diverse, and new and emerging communities;
STATEMENT 2 – The adequacy and accessibility of settlement and social inclusion services and resources available to individuals and communities;
STATEMENT 3 – The adequacy of existing data collection and social research on racially motivated crimes;
STATEMENT 4 – The impact of discrimination, vilification and other forms of exclusion and bigotry on the basis of ‘race’, colour, national or ethnic origin, culture or religious belief;

WE RECOMMEND:
1.    Specific areas of public and health policies require cultural sensitivity in engaging and delivering services to Vietnamese Australians, and consultation with the community is crucial to policy delivery effectiveness.
2.    Greater resources need to be directed at empowering engagement and full participation from of CALD, new and emerging communities..
3.    Care must be taken in ethnic profiling data to support national security measures to minimise risk of stereotyping.
4.    The role of SBS needs to be reviewed with respect to the Vietnamese community and more broadly to reflect changing and ongoing community needs and aspirations.

Multiculturalism is valued because it allows people to learn from each other. There is overwhelming appreciation of Australia’s cultural diversity because it broadens horizons and enhances mutual understanding.

Definitive multicultural policy and anti-racism legislation have provided reassurance and redress for the settlement experience and prosperity of the Vietnamese-Australian community over the past 42 years. Legislation enabled us to settle, reunite our families, unite through the trauma as survivors of the Vietnam War, and to grow into our Vietnamese-Australian identities as a community over generations.

When it comes to impact of discrimination, exclusion and bigotry, we have seen that Australia not only loses because of social problems that arise, but also loses from our inability to optimise the talent, capability and capacity from members of our society. There are plenty of evidence-based research here in Australia, including those from Harvard University and from the Diversity Council of Australia, which demonstrate that a successful socially cohesive society is achieved when discrimination, exclusion and bigotry is eradicated.

As refugees in Australia, we have full access to the public health and public education systems. It is from this premise we grew our loyalty to Australia and set out to contribute in many and various ways – whether that is in commerce, business, hospitality, public service – as any other Australian would want to do.

After 42 years of living in Australia, Vietnamese people can readily access mainstream services. There are, however, specific areas that do require improved cultural sensitivity in engaging and delivering services to Vietnamese Australians. Some of these include people with disability, problem gambling, domestic violence, aged care, LGBT+, and youth mental health.

It is unclear if data is available, or whether service delivery models have been explored, in consultation with the community to ensure efficient and effective use of public resources. Consultation with the community on such issues can play a significant role in how services are formed and delivered.  As an example, there has been experience in Victoria where funding support to problem gamblers having been redirected to ethno-specific organisations to assist specific communities in the delivery of such supports.

Another public vehicle is the role of SBS TV, Radio and other commutations avenues are an essential means to multiculturalism.  SBS has played the role of linking many diverse cultural groups by providing information to assist people in their adjustment to Australian life while helping to maintain and develop their cultural identity. As far as the Vietnamese community is concerned, this tax-funded institution needs to improve the way it engages and involves itself in expression of community values, a view known to SBS management for many years.

Research bodies such as the Scanlon Foundation or other commissioned research programs may or may not have the expertise to collect data that is applicable or useful for racially motivated crimes.  Data on ethnic profiling requires care and cultural literacy. Appropriate regulatory frameworks need to be in place to avoid the potential misuse of information or risks of exacerbates skewed perceptions about certain communities.

(II)    We all feel safer when standards of public discourse & political leadership are high
STATEMENT 5 – the impact of political leadership and media representation on the prevalence of vilification and other forms of exclusion and bigotry on the basis of ‘race’, colour, national or ethnic origin, culture or religious belief;
STATEMENT 6 – how to improve the expected standards of public discourse about matters of ‘race’, colour, national or ethnic origin, culture or religious belief;

WE RECOMMEND:
5.    Continued effort to redress and reconcile with the First Peoples of Australia.
6.    Representation in public positions and across society must be immediately addressed through talent pipeline development, recruitment, board appointment and other measures.
7.    Public figures must be held to account for their conduct.
8.    Public education on rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy should be considered in school settings and in society through community programs.

We have moved progressively in the past 4-5 decades to abolish the White Australian policy, to move from assimilation to integration and Australia now enjoys a multicultural society status, measured by international standards. We must continue, however, to redress and reconcile with the First Peoples of Australia and the injustices they continue to suffer, put in place legislation and policies to empower diverse communities to speak for themselves through and provide culturally appropriate support for issues and concerns.

In a democracy, such as Australia, Australians of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds must be able to express their political views and comments on domestic and international issues, including regarding the conflicts in the Middle East or the disputes in South East and East Asia.

At an individual citizen’s level, the right to cultural identity (expressing and sharing one’s individual cultural heritage, including their language and religion); social justice (equality of treatment and opportunity, and the removal of barriers of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, gender or place of birth); and economic efficiency (the need to maintain, develop and utilise effectively the skills and talents of all Australians).  Equally, this right must be met by the obligation to have an overriding and unifying commitment to Australia, to its interests and future first and foremost; to accept the basic structures and principles of Australia; and to accept that the right to express one’s own culture and beliefs involves a reciprocal responsibility to accept the right of others to express their views and values.
Public education must be a core focus through the education system with specific focus on inclusion and diversity, programs such as Harmony Day and diversity week and awareness and celebrations programs as a matter of core social issues rather than a fashion or a trend.

The role of public figures must be held to account to certain standards and that the communities must be resourced to have their media representation in ways that are relevant and appropriate.

Representation is another issue that needs to be immediately addressed through recruitment, appointment and other measures such as name and shame.

Equally important are the programs and activities, supported by longitudinal research, on the positive impact of belonging, participation and acceptance of others, for example the Vietnamese Community’s successful Dual Identity Leadership Program, or gender and cultural diversity targets in the political class and board appointments.

In the experience of the Vietnamese community, our first generation and the ‘generation 1.5’ of Vietnamese Australians have had their fair share of integration challenges within education settings, addressing conflicting expectations but have largely successfully overcome such challenges and evolved our expression of cultural values, influenced by life in Australia.

Our second and third generation Australians of Vietnamese background experience discrimination and racism in different ways to our older generations. Many younger Australians of culturally diverse backgrounds still feel an incomplete acceptance by mainstream society. Many of these Australians have experienced or observed instances of prejudice, discrimination and intolerance first hand. Different forms of exclusion and discrimination undermine senses of belonging. Even though they identify as being at home in Australia, these experiences shape the extent to which they ‘feel’ Australian, and can potentially engender suboptimal participation and contribution from these groups.

It remains an ongoing policy to empower engagement and participation from different communities to ensure they can fully participate and minimise unwanted behavior arising from the lack of belonging (ref Scanlon research).

(III)    Definitive benefit to society with strong multicultural policy & institutional support
STATEMENT 7 – how to better recognise and value the contribution that diverse communities bring to Australian social and community life;
STATEMENT 8 – the potential benefits and disadvantages of enshrining principles of multiculturalism in legislation;
STATEMENT 9 – the potential benefits and disadvantages of establishing a legislative basis for the Multicultural Advisory Council, or for an ongoing Multicultural Commission;

WE RECOMMEND:
9.    18c of the Racial Discrimination Act be retained, and where appropriate, be strengthened to explicitly include religion into its protections.
10.    Representative organizations need to be better resourced and coordinated between communities, within communities and across the local, state and federal governments.
11.    Multicultural bodies be enhanced and multicultural principles legislated.

We need to have the right laws, legislations and institutions to deliver on the objectives, but equally important is the leadership in our society, at the political, media, business levels who shape the public debate.

We have seen the social unrest in the Goodes incident and the divisiveness of the Bolt case, or on the other hand going back in history the bi-partisan support under Malcolm Fraser on Indochinese refugees.
It is our community’s perspective that the Racial Discrimination Act, Section 18c must be maintained and strengthened. The role of the Human Rights Commission and its commissioners must be enhanced and fully supported – the role of the Commission in education, inquiry and promoting conciliation, and communicating about and promoting human rights as of vital importance, and should not be curtailed.

The Galbally Report in the 1970s provided a program of action based on the following guiding principles:

•    “all members of our society must have equal opportunity to realise their full potential and must have equal access to programs and services;
•    every person should be able to maintain their culture without prejudice or disadvantage and should be encouraged to understand and embrace other cultures;
•    needs of migrants should, in general, be met by programs and services available to the whole community but special services and programs are necessary at present to ensure equality of access and provision;
•    services and programs should be designed and operated in full consultation with clients, and self-help should be encouraged as much as possible with a view to helping migrants to become self-reliant quickly”

We assert that these guiding principles remain relevant today. Australia would be in position to fully capitalise on our society’s grey matter and diversity of experience, if we have the foresight to put in place legislative frameworks, programs and measures to implement these principles.
A Multicultural Commission at the National level would extend and enhance the work of state-based Multicultural agencies, with a legislated, institutional basis to elevate the experiences, stories and voices of Australians from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Currently the representative organisations are not resourced, e.g. the coordination between peak ethnic bodies such as the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV or its federal body FECCA) Action on Disability Within Ethnic Communities (ADEC) are not adequately resourced nor coordinated to fully understand the cultural appropriateness of different communities to support them adequately. The current rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme with CALD communities including the Indigenous communities facing access challenges is a clear example of better supports needed to more effectively deliver to different cultural communities.

As demonstrated by the Scanlon Foundation’s research on 5 domains of social cohesion, there is a need to feel as though one belongs and this is shown consistently throughout any ethnic community. Those who feel they do not belong to any group, community or in their society, are much more exposed and vulnerable to the justice systems.

Representative organisations need to be better resourced and coordinated between communities, within communities and across the local, state and federal governments to achieve greater visibility of data, best practice and evidenced based outcome for such supports and services.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit to the selection of the Committee on Strengthening Multiculturalism. Having now reached the 42nd anniversary of Vietnamese resettlement in Australia, this initiative is another opportunity for our community to give back to Australia.

Please contact Bon Nguyen, President of the VCA on 0411 616 453president@vietnamese.org.au, Viv Nguyen, President of the VCA-VIC Chapter on 0412 188 920 or Huong Truong VCA-VIC Chapter on 0401 560 820.

Yours Sincerely,
Bon Nguyen
President
Vietnamese Community in Australia

http://www.lyhuong.net/uc/index.php/shcd/4855-4855

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