National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism,Immigration and Human Rights

Ms Annette Johnston
Ealry Childhood/Multicultural Field worker

Fears, limiting beliefs and other diverse realities in Australia

As we enter into a new round of discussions about Diversity in Australia, many of us recognise that something keeps eluding the debate. We appear to be stuck in past definitions, in patterns; the same issues and scenarios repeat again and again.

We suspect it has something to do with our reactions to issues of diversity. Many react with fear, denial and resistance. Some take refuge in a particular religious political cultural or nationalistic belief. Others are so defeated so disconnected that they attempt to fill the void with a reliance on personal power, material things, a rampant TECHNOLOGY OR EVEN 'SUBSTANCE USE'

But these are not safe hiding places from the unsavoury aspects of ourselves and our unfinished business. Instinctively we feel that out reactions are somehow in conflict with our true spirit. Governments align with these unconscious reactions and in a misguided attempt to insulate us from perceived threats, injustices or inequalities, they make narrowly conceived policies that exacerbate the inherent tensions in our relationships with England, native peoples, immigrants, refugees, our Asian neighbours and with each other.

We need to prevent our egos, our fears and our limiting beliefs from getting the better of us. WE need to see the bigger picture and merge with others in the diverse realities that co-exist in Australia. If we expand out perspective we can create a more authentic dialogue and choose policies with more responsible intentions.

Working with Ealry Childhood/Multicultural Field for almost 20 years:-
- Project CO-ordinator for training programmes ­Aboriginal And Ethnic workers in child care. 1983-1984
- Multicultural Advisor/AMEP Co-ordinator 1984-1988 [Kindergarden Union of NSW]
- NSW Ethnic Communities Council Executive Member 1998
- Jewish Board of Deputies 1998
- Involved in various taskforces and contributions to positions papers
- Youth Drug Summit
- National Multicultural Advisory Committee Report (NMAC 1999)
- The Way Forward Document: Proposed Changes to Ethnic Affairs Commission

Presentation Type
30 min paper

University of Technology, Sydney, 1-2 December 2000

Papers & Workshops