$2.5 million for Lebanese Muslim Association for community cohesion project

The Lebanese Muslim Association will receive $2.5 million in funding from the Rudd Government to promote community cohesion in South Western Sydney through its Engage, Challenge, Grow project.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs Kate Lundy, the Member for Watson Tony Burke and Member for Blaxland Jason Clare made the announcement August 3 which will support the Lebanese Muslim Association in running the Engage, Challenge, Grow project. The project aims to promote cross-cultural contact between different communities, foster understanding and respect, and break down barriers to cohesion.

The funding will be provided as part of the $15 million Empowering Multicultural Communities initiative which is designed to support local communities as they embrace the benefits of multiculturalism and maintain socially inclusive neighbourhoods.

The Lebanese Muslim Association is a well-respected not-for-profit community organisation in South Western Sydney with an established reputation for providing social, educational, recreational and welfare services to the Muslim community.

The Engage, Challenge, Grow project will run in three streams:

1. Engage

The engagement phase of the program will include the development of a Young Muslims Advisory Group and will also identify high-profile Australian Muslims to be positive role models for Muslim youth.

2. Challenge

The challenge phase will facilitate a number of events to engage Muslim families within the wider community to foster understanding, respect and build community resilience.

This phase will include a series of open days to break down the barriers and misconceptions by creating an open dialogue with the non-Muslim community.

A short film designed to challenge misconceptions about Muslim women will also be produced and screened as part of the Challenge phase.

3. Grow
The final component of the program will include an outreach project that will create opportunities for young Muslim men and women to become trainees and complete a Certificate IV in youth work.

Throughout delivery and upon completion, the program will be evaluated by an independent external and suitably qualified consultant.


23 million people in Australia

Did you know that Australia’s overall population increases by one person every 1 minute and 23 seconds?

This calculation is based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) metrics with the following assumptions:

* birth every 1 minute and 44 seconds,
* one death every 3 minutes and 32 seconds,
* a net gain of one international migration every 2 minutes and 19 seconds.

As at 24 April 2013 1:09:58 AM, the ABS population clock projected Australia’s resident population at 23,000,139.

In a related publication, the ABS has projected that “Australia’s estimated resident population (ERP) at 30 June 2007 of 21.0 million people is projected to increase to between 30.9 and 42.5 million people by 2056, and to between 33.7 and 62.2 million people by 2101.”

Census stories and more

Australia Day at Hyde Park [Rzc]
Australia Day at Hyde Park [Rzc]
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) yesterday its two latest articles with highlights of the 2011 Census in its series, “Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census.”

The latest articles are Year 12 Achievement and Continuing Education, and Where and how do Australia’s Older People live?

The eight earlier articles include Western Australia – Outback: A Population Overview, Still on the Move, Who are Australia’s Older People?, Counting Resident and Non-resident Populations in the Census, Same-sex Couple Famiies, Cultural Diversity in Australia, 100 years of Australian Lives – Population, and Census history.

The article, “Cultural Diversity in Australia“, is an interesting read. It gives the reader information on top sources of Australian migration, languages most spoken at home, and other noteworthy statistics.

Interesting poll on multiculturalism

This may be late in the day as subject poll was conducted weeks leading to Australia Day 2013, but we thought we share this “news” as it gives us an idea of how others view multiculturalism in Australia.

The poll was conducted exclusively for News Limited last January.

Here are the poll’s results:

  • 25% said “multiculturalism generally did not work very well and seemed to create more problems than the benefits it brought”,
  • 13% said “it caused lots of cultural issues and problems”,
  • 10% said “multiculturalism worked very well and made Australia what it”,
  • Over 50% said “it worked generally quite well, causing only the occasional issue”,

An Australian National University immigration expert said the results was good news adding that “Australians’ growing love of travel had helped open up minds to different cultures.”

Of Australia’s 22 million people, about 44 per cent were either born overseas or one or both of their parents were born overseas.

Sorry, didn’t hear that …

by Titus Filio

In this technology- and visual-crazy world where looks are given more value than sound, people care less about developing listening skills. We have speakers’ clubs, reading clubs, or star-gazing societies – groups that develop speaking and seeing – but hardly are there any listening clubs or ‘great ear societies’ in the neighbourhood.
Look around – rather listen around – and you think the world has gone deaf.

We’re not talking here about the hearing impaired but people who have 99 to 100 per cent hearing faculty but are very poor listeners.

‘Mis-hearing’ entire sentences often lead to heated debates among people because of the failure of one, or both, to clearly listen to what the other is saying.

“Where did you save the file?” the boss asks his staff.

“I finished the report yesterday and I am working now on the …” the staff explains.

“I was just asking where you saved the file!” the boss screams.

The message has been lost somewhere. We are busy and often our listening frequencies are turned off.

Meanwhile schools hone students on the ability to read, speak and write. Speaking contests abound, best speakers are awarded, but less emphasis is given to listening.

It is rare to find a ‘listening competition’ although teachers know that listening skills is as powerful as speaking skills. In fact both skills can hardly be separated as the best speakers are often the real best listeners.

Foreign language fluency ratings are usually scored on the S-R-W scale (speak, read and write) and thus one is deemed proficient in a language, say English for example, if he or she can speak, read and write in that language properly.

But can he or she really listen to, and listen in, English?

We all think that we’ll be fine in Australia where English is the official language. But in a county with a thousand-and-more English accents, a great deal of good listening is required.

Employers should put that in their recruitment selection criteria: Candidate must have proven ability to be a good listener.
The average person talks and looks more than twice as much as they listen. Even TV news networks use more graphics and video (including the morbid) to capture audiences maybe because people tend to listen less to news and watch it more.

Didn’t you notice that most people who buy mobile phones focus on design and apps, internet and photo-capture tools, but hardly check on the sound quality of the phone’s reception?

When buying, why is it that we test-drive cars but we don’t ‘test-hear’ mobile phones? Seriously. We rarely see a buyer bringing the mobile phone a kilometre away from the shop and having a shop attendant call that phone for the buyer to hear if the sound quality of the mobile phone is good.

Listening is taking the backseat.

But listening is way beyond the act of mere hearing. Listening is grasping the thought behind what is being said by the other. Listening is understanding. When we miss listening to the important lines, we miss the message entirely and we respond inappropriately.

I never liked ice on my cola whenever I order at a fastfood joint. The thing is they always put too much ice so I would tell an eager fastfood crew “please, no ice on the cola…”

“No problem,” the fastfood crew responds. They work out the order, zoom, zing, bang and when the cola was handed to me – voila! – it was bubbling with ice.

“I just told you I didn’t want ice on the cola,” I wanted to scream.

“Oh, sorry, didn’t hear that.”

Ever encountered someone who forgets using his ears?

“So how was the party?” I asked a friend.

“Oh great, the company just gave me a raise!” came his quick reply.

In such cases, often people’s minds are clouded because they wanted to say something first before listening to the other party.

Medical researchers say it is the daily distractions that make us poor listeners. Here’s what I got from www.healthguidance.org: We are constantly talking. Even when we are listening we are continually chattering in our brain. Formulating an answer, or reacting to what is being said. We all want to talk, but so few wish to listen. We hear what is being said but are we really listening?”