Open Letter to the 45th Parliament on Multiculturalism and the Arts

An Open Letter from Australian artists has calleed on the 45th Parliament to reaffirm its commitment to core values of Australia’s cultural life and reject racist legislation.

Spokesperson for the group and Executive Officer for Darwin Community Arts, Bong Ramilo, said: “The recent election to the Australian Parliament of politicians who campaigned on policies that present a direct threat to the multicultural fabric of our country is of deep concern to us. These policies include:

  • Abolishing multiculturalism,
  • Revoking the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975,
  • Instituting "zero net" immigration,
  • Banning the immigration of Muslims into Australia. 

We are calling on the 45 th Parliament to ensure racist legislation is not adopted in Australia.”

Spokesperson Jami Bladel from Tasmania’s KickStart Arts said: “We want our newly elected leaders to restate their commitment to the principles and values enshrined in the Commonwealth Government’s multicultural policy. All Australians have the right to equality of treatment and opportunity, and the removal of barriers of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, gender or place of birth relating to freedom of expression, equality”.

The group is in the process of gathering support for their open letter from the arts sector and the broader community and will be writing to each of the newly elected parliamentarians.

For more information please contact

Bong Ramilo – 0414 682 350 - eo@darwincommunityarts.org.au

Jami Bladel - 0439 342 775 - director@kickstart.org.au

The Open Letter has been released through #freethearts on Facebook:

Text of the Open Letter

When Parliament resumes this week there will be nearly 40 new Members engaged in decision making for our nation.

Culture is at the heart what it is to be human and culture is at the core of decision making.

We the Artists of Australia, united by our aspiration for a better world, call on the new parliament to re-affirm the following core principles that have been articulated in Commonwealth Government’s multicultural policy:

• All Australians have the right to express and share their unique cultural heritage.
• All Australians have the right to equality of treatment and opportunity, and the removal of barriers of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, gender or place of birth;
• Australia’s multicultural composition is at the heart of our national identity and is intrinsic to our history and character.
• Multiculturalism is in Australia’s national interest and speaks to fairness and inclusion. It enhances respect and support for cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity.

Culture is not simply about arts and heritage, it is the community creation of values, meaning and purpose in life. The arts play an important role in shaping and challenging how we think and feel, and who we understand ourselves to be as a nation.

Cultural vitality is as essential to a healthy and sustainable society as social equity, environmental responsibility and economic viability.

We call on the 45th Parliament to ensure decision making that protects and preserves the dignity of our many peoples through policies that support and encourage Australian cultural diversity in its many forms.

The election to the Australian Parliament of politicians who campaigned on policies that present a threat to multiculturalism in Australia is of deep concern to us.
The policies we refer to include:

• Abolishing multiculturalism,
• Revoking the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975,
• Instituting "zero net" immigration,
• Banning the immigration of Muslims into Australia.

Such policies are racist and must not be tolerated.

We call on the 45th Parliament to ensure racist policies are not adopted and that multicultural arts and artists are supported and encouraged to lead cultural development and practice.

We see a future where creative thought and practice takes us beyond the divisions of race or culture. Where citizens experience strength in diversity, beauty in difference and have the courage to love instead of hate.