National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism,Immigration and Human Rights

Dr Mark Lopez

The Origins of Multiculturalism in Australian Politics 1945-1975, and the Role of the Left.

This paper briefly traces the evolution of the ideology of multiculturalism
through its three early formative phases: anti-assimilationism (mid-1950s to mid-1960s); proto-multiculturalism (mid-1960s to 1972); multiculturalism (April 1972 to October 1975). It then outlines the four original models: ethnic structural pluralism; cultural pluralism; welfare multiculturalism; ethnic rights multiculturalism, while noting the cross fertilisation of ideas and substreams evident in several versions.

This paper then explores the emergence of the rivalries and disputes within multiculturalism, between the supporters of different versions. The paper notes that all versions are legitimate and none of them can be dismissed as not the true version. Policies from each of them have been implemented, but the most successful traditions have been cultural pluralism and ethnic rights multiculturalism, with cultural pluralism edging ahead to become the principal contender for becoming the mainstream version before 1976, a lead it never lost. This paper explores the reasons for the early success of cultural pluralism, while noting the contributions of the more radical left-wing ethnic rights multiculturalists to the overall success of multiculturalism in becoming the basis of ethnic affairs policy.

Dr Mark Lopez gained his Phd at Monash University in 1997. He has been
a factory hand, a labourer, a storeman, a dishwasher, a nightclub DJ and a university tutor, and currently runs a private tutoring business called competitive advantage.

Presentation Type
30 min paper

University of Technology, Sydney, 1-2 December 2000

Papers & Workshops