Dr Susan Thompson
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of the Built Environment, University
-presenting on behalf of self and Dr Kevin Dunn (Geography,
UNSW) and Dr Bronwyn Hanna (FBE, UNSW)
Inter-communal Relations and Local Government in Australia
This paper discusses results from a national survey of Australian
local government regarding multicultural policy. The particular
focus of this paper is local government involvement in community
relations policy. The discussion is set within a context of recent
calls for a politics of difference from cultural minorities and
from critical multiculturalists. Community relations policy was
found to be poorly developed in Australian local government.
Community relations interventions by most local governments are
limited to festivals and local hallmark events. Many councils
are involved in information provision campaigns, aimed at building
Anglo-Celtic tolerance of other groups. Very few have formulated
anti-racism interventions. Even those councils in areas with
acknowledged inter-ethnic discord have been reticent to involve
themselves in inter-communal relations. While some local governments
celebrate and respond to the diversity of their citizenry, as
many again refuse to recognize that heterogeneity, often constructing
minorities as a problematic Other, refusing to recast governance
and broaden the local citizenry.
Dr Susan Thompson is a Senior Lecturer in the Planning and Urban
Development Program within the Faculty of the Built Environment
at the University of NSW, Sydney Australia.
Susan teaches social planning, local planning and qualitative
research methods. She is particularly interested in developing
innovative educational techniques to facilitate students' understanding
of difference and diversity in the city. Susan has several research
interests including meanings of home for migrant women, multiculturalism
and its impact on the city, the implementation of multicultural
policy at the local government level and the development of culturally
inclusive planning education and practice.
Susan is presenting on behalf of her research colleagues at
the University of NSW, Drs Kevin Dunn and Bronwyn Hanna. Together,
the team has been examining local government and multicultural
policy as part of a large Australian Research Grant.
30 min paper