Changing face of migration to Australia

The Asia region is becoming a leading source for permanent migration to Australia according to Australia’s Migration Trends, a new report released recently by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Brendan O’Connor.

Members of the Chinese Community in NSW get ready for a Blacktown festival parade
Members of the Chinese Community in NSW get ready for a Blacktown festival parade
Members of the Chinese Community in NSW get ready for a Blacktown festival parade[/caption]

For the first time, India and China were the two main source countries of permanent migrants.

The report contains comprehensive analysis and commentary on migration activity for 2011-12, and provides a clear picture of substantial changes in the origins of Australia’s migrants, reflecting the trend towards an Asian Century.

‘Seven of the top 10 source countries in 2011-12 were located in the Asia region,’ Mr O’Connor said.

‘Between 1996 and 2011, Australia’s overseas-born population grew by more than 40 per cent to reach six million. This was more than double the rate for the Australian-born population and is essential in addressing the demographic challenges of an ageing population,’ Mr O’Connor said.

‘With the government’s strong emphasis on skilled migration, this sort of growth is also crucial to ensuring depth in Australia’s labour force.

Mr O’Connor said patterns of migration are also changing.
‘In 2011-12, half of Australia’s skilled migrants applied while they were already living in Australia on a temporary visa. This was more than twice the rate of a decade earlier and reflects a growing trend of migrants seeing what Australia has to offer before making a commitment to settle permanently,’ Mr O’Connor said.

‘There is also clear evidence of Australia’s commitment to international refugee protection. By granting more than 13 700 humanitarian visas in 2011-12, Australia continued to earn its place as one of the top three resettlement countries in the world, along with Canada and the USA.

‘These and other findings, along with extensive policy discussion make Australia’s Migration Trends essential reading for anyone wanting to learn more about migration’s role in our society and its importance to Australia’s future.’

Multicultural youth sport funds grant opens

Multicultural youth in Australia can look forward to new sporting opportunities with the opening of the third round of the Multicultural Youth Sports Partnership Program.

Australian Sports Commission photo
Australian Sports Commission photo

Minister for Sport and Multicultural Affairs Kate Lundy saud the Multicultural Youth Sports Partnership Program provides grants to organisations from amounts of $5,000 to $50,000 to help youth from new and emerging communities and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to participate in sport within their local communities.

‘Sport is an important part of Australian culture, and as a government we want to help local sporting organisations better connect with new and emerging communities,’ Senator Lundy said.

‘Through this program we are helping refugees and new migrants to better understand Australian culture through sport.’

Senator Lundy recently joined members of the Sunshine Heights Cricket Club in Melbourne to see how the Club is using the Multicultural Youth Sports Partnership funding they received last year to help deliver their ‘We Don’t Like Cricket – We Love it!’ program.

‘The ‘We Don’t Like Cricket – We Love it!’ program provides great opportunities for local refugee children to participate in weekly cricketing activities in a safe and supporting environment,’ Senator Lundy said.

Applications are now open for the next round of Multicultural Youth Sports Partnership program. Applications close on 2 May 2013 and successful applicants will be announced in July 2013.

For more information about the grants, visit the Australian Sports Commission website.

Harmony Day, March 21

Australia’s cultural diversity takes centre stage across the nation today (March 21) as Australians join together to celebrate Harmony Day, the same day that the international community observes the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

001 past Harmony Day activity-barnier-public-school
001 past Harmony Day activity-barnier-public-school

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Brendan O’Connor and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kate Lundy, said the annual celebration was a chance for all Australians to embrace the many things that make our country unique.

‘The values of inclusiveness, respect and belonging are fundamental to the development of Australia’s successful multicultural framework,’ Mr O’Connor said.

‘These values are at the core of what Harmony Day is about.
‘Harmony Day is a fantastic time to reflect on and celebrate the rich patchwork of cultures which make Australia such a fantastic place to live.’

The theme underpinning this year’s celebration is Many Stories – One Australia, emphasising that each of Australia’s 22 million citizens has a unique story to tell.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kate Lundy said the theme encourages Australians to reflect on their Australian journey and share it with others.

‘The stories which make up the broader Australian narrative are varied and unique, and this year’s theme aims to bring to light the amazing diversity amongst Australia’s citizens,’ Senator Lundy said.

‘Australians have been encouraged to reflect on their journey and share it with others – in workplaces, on social network sites, at schools or within their communities.’

Preparations are being finalised for thousands of events across the country, including the lighting up tonight of Federation Square in Melbourne and some of Canberra’s iconic landmarks, including Parliament House, in the Harmony colour – orange.

Since Harmony Day began in 1999, almost 50 000 events have been staged across Australia with community groups, schools, churches, local governments and the business community once again come together to celebrate the cultures that make Australia a great place to live.

‘Harmony Day is a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the unique sense of belonging which has grown from Australia’s multicultural foundation,’ Mr O’Connor said.

‘Together we can showcase the spirit of the cultural diversity which has made Australia what it is today.’

For more information on Harmony Day events, go to the Harmony Day website [Photos used here from gallery of].

Celebrate Strathfield’s diversity for Harmony Day

Strathfield Council will celebrate Harmony Day and embrace the area’s cultural diversity with a fun family day out on Saturday 16 March at Airey Park, Homebush.

Harmony Day is marked each year on March 21 and is managed by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Strathfield Festival, 2011 /TFA Photo
Strathfield Festival, 2011 /TFA Photo

The message of Harmony Day is Everyone Belongs – it is a day to celebrate Australia’s diversity and to spread a message of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia Home.

The free Harmony Day activities from 10am – 3pm will include a jumping castle, animal farm, plaster painting, Korean Kite making workshop and flight trial, an AFL clinic, Taekwondo demonstrations as well as a free barbecue from 12noon to 2pm with a range of foods to try.

The activities will also mark International Women’s Day (8 March) with a Zumba class at 12noon and community service information for women’s support groups.

The Harmony Day event will also welcome local community service organisation, Metro Migrant Resource Centre (Metro MRC) to their new premises at the Strathfield Community Centre (within Airey Park). Metro MRC will be available to support the needs of thediverse Strathfield and Inner West community from this site.

The event will be opened by the Minister for Citizenship and Communities, and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Victor Dominello at 11am.

Mayor of Strathfield, Cr Gulian Vaccari noted the importance of days like this to Strathfield.

“Harmony Day is great time to look at the many various cultures and people that call Strathfield and its suburbs home and acknowledge the contribution those cultures make. This is a fantastic family fun day which shows off the community pride and harmony here in Strathfield, “Cr Vaccari said.

Australia’s music legends featured on stamps

A great way of understanding more about Australia is getting to know their music legends. But who are Australia’s music legends? Well, if you’re still the type who sends mail via the post office, you’ll most likely see their faces on the stamps.

On the other hand, even if you’re not the lick-and-stick stamp user, it still is a great idea to get these collector item stamps featuring Australia’s greats in music.

Yes, you can count in Olivia Newton-John. Of course, there’s Men at Work (Down Under – who doesn’t know that?!). The whole list of ten that made it into the 60cent stamps in this year’s Australia Post Australian Legends include the iconic bands Men at Work, Cold Chisel, INXS, The Seekers and AC/DC. Apart from Olivia, the individual artists include Kylie Minogue, John Farnham AO, and Paul Kelly; and the one and only Ian “Molly” Meldrum.

An Australia Post press release stated that the ten artists will have the honour of being immortalised on a postage stamp as the recipients of the 2013 Australia Post Legends award.

They have been recognised for their influence and impact on music in Australia, and for taking Australian music to the world’s stage. They are household names and their influence spans across several generations of music fans.

Ahmed Fahour, Managing Director & CEO, Australia Post, is proud to continue the tradition of recognising successful Australians.

“This year’s Australian Legends of Music have that rare blend of longevity, tenacity and devotion – as well as the capacity to inspire an entire nation. These stamps celebrate people who have had a significant impact on the music industry and have made impressions on the lives of all Australians,” said Mr Fahour.

Michael Gudinski, Chairman of The Mushroom Group and Managing Director of The Frontier Touring Company, chaired the selection panel for the stamps and acknowledges it was a difficult choice with such rich musical talent in Australia to choose from.

Australia Post Legend status is bestowed upon only the most inspirational Australians. These are individuals and groups that not only amass substantial bodies of work, but are inspirational and exemplify perseverance, devotion, integrity and compassion.

As one of the most recognisable and influential figures in Australian Music, Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum is a music legend in his own right, but has also played an integral role in the careers of many of the other Legends and has showcased their talents to the world.

“The Australian musicians honoured on these stamps have world-wide respect from the industry so it’s great to see Australia Post recognising their impact and success,” said Meldrum.

The Legends Award began 15 years ago when Sir Donald Bradman was the first living Australian to be honoured on an Australian stamp. Prior to that, the only living people honoured on the nation’s stamps were members of the royal family.

The Legends will feature on 10 x 60c stamps, a stamp pack, first day cover and set of maxi cards along with a commemorative book titled Australian Legends of Music written by renowned music historian Ed Nimmervo.

The stamps and associated products are available at participating Australia Post retail outlets, via mail order phone 1800 331 794 and online at The stamps were released last January 18 and are available while stocks last.

Australia triples in popularity with Chinese and Indian visitors

Over the last ten years, people from China and India more than tripled their visits to Australia breaking all previous records, according to figures released recently by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

China went from 190,000 visits in 2002 to 630,000 in 2012, and India from 45,000 to 160,000.

Other countries in Australia’s top ten visitors list include Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Hong Kong – meaning Asian countries are now seven of our top ten source countries for short term visits to Australia.

Assistant Director of Demography, Neil Scott said “Despite a high Australian dollar, Australia’s short term visitor numbers were up by nearly five per cent since 2011 with 6.1 million short trips made to Australia – 270,000 more than we saw in 2011.”

“New Zealand remains our biggest source of overseas short-term visitor arrivals with 1.2 million trips in 2012 or one in five visitors coming from there, but China is now in second place with one in ten, followed by the UK, the USA and Japan.

“The top five countries alone provided more than half of last years overseas visitors, and there were an extra 85,000 visits from China – an increase of 16 per cent. The next largest increase in visitor numbers came from Malaysia, with a nine per cent increase.

“New South Wales remained the most popular destination with a record 2.3 million overseas visitors in 2012, claiming more than one-third of all short-term visitor arrivals to Australia.

“This was followed by Queensland at one-quarter and Victoria with just over one-fifth.

“More than two-thirds – or about 4.3 million overseas visitors – came here for holidays or to see friends and family, and the peak age group for short term visitors was 25-29 year olds.

“Interestingly, the average amount of time people spent in Australia was 11 days, which has been constant over the last ten years,” Mr Scott said.

A busy street in Melbourne ... Most visitors to Australia come from Asian countries

Women still under-represented in positions of leadership

Women in Australia continue to be under-represented in positions of leadership, according to a new report released this month by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Are men still the lords in the corporate world?

The report Gender Indicators, Australia brings together a variety of ABS and non-ABS data to look at the differences between men and women, and how these differences are changing over time.

ABS Director of Living Conditions Statistics, Caroline Daley, said men still held a higher proportion of Australia’s top leadership positions including federal and state parliamentarians, CEOs in the top 200 ASX companies and managers in the Australian Public Service.

“Seven out of ten federal and state parliamentarians were men, and this hasn’t changed over the past ten years,” Ms Daley said.

“The proportion of women CEOs in top 200 ASX companies has remained below five per cent for the last decade,” she said.

“The situation in the public service however is changing, with the proportion of women in senior and middle manager roles rising from 35 per cent in 2002 to 46 per cent in 2012.

The report also shows that more than twice as many men as women receive nominations and awards for the Order of Australia.

“The difference is greatest at the highest tiers of the honours system, where around three times as many men receive either the Companion of the Order (AC) or Officer of the Order (AO) award in the General Division,” Ms Daley said.

“In 2012, 682 men and 297 women received a General Division Order of Australia award at either the Australia Day or Queen’s Birthday announcements.

“Two women received the highest honour (AC), compared to 11 men, while 18 women and 57 men received the second highest honour (AO),” she said.

Flavour of Russia and the Balkans

Blacktown Arts Centre welcomes back The Volatinsky Trio who will open the 2013 season of the Echo Music Series on 2 February 2013.

The trio plays original world music laced with the flavours of Russia and the Balkans on an exotic combination of instruments – cimbalom (Russian hammer dulcimer with 78 strings), cello, domra (Russian mandolin) and guitar.

Their concert on 2 February will commence at 3pm and kick off the 2013 Echo Music Series – a long running series featuring unique and different performing artists in concert throughout the year.

Members of the Volatinsky Trio include:

Lucy Voronov from Minsk is one of the great players of cimbalom having won major folk instrument competitions in Russia and the former USSR.

Anatoli Torjinski from Odessa is an ARIA-award winning musician, renowned for his brilliant jazz/world-style cello playing and improvisations in groups including Double T, Monsieur Camembert and the Eddie Bronson Trio.

Stephen Lalor is Kiev-trained in Russian domra and guitar. When he is not playing with world music groups based in Sydney, Stephen works with Australian and overseas symphony orchestras as a mandolin specialist, appearing at major festivals as a mandolin/domra soloist. He has performed and/or recorded with artists including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Bryn Terfel, Andy Irvine, Shen Yang, Taraf de Haidouks and The Stiff Gins.

Volatinsky Trio have played at some of Australia’s major World-Music Festivals, notably; The National Folk Festival and Fairbridge Festival (“a blistering set” – 2011 Fairbridge Program), plus Tanks (Cairns), Boite (Melbourne) & Camelot (Sydney). More recently they have headlined the Canberra Folk Festival, Montreal Music Festival, and will be performing in Adelaide at the Womadelaide Festival.

Tickets to the concert are now available. Costs are $20 adult, $15 Friends of BAC/concession, $35 family pass (Group of four). For more details, visit

Row boats back on Parramatta river

The Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Councillor John Chedid has brought back row boats to Parramatta River – the first time they have been seen on this part of the River since early colonial days.

“The vintage row boats we have for hire will help bring activity and life to our River foreshore,” Cr Chedid said.

“At the same time, these row boats will give families a fun and healthy activity to do with the kids during the school holidays.

“I’m very excited about having row boats back on our River. We haven’t seen any recreational rowing in this part of the River since our colonial days.

“This is the first time Council has ever run this program but we’ve been talking about doing this for a long time. Finally, we have it up and running.

“At the moment, the plan is to trial it and if it proves popular, we may look into having a commercial operator run this service permanently,” Cr Chedid said.

The row boats are part of Council’s new city activation program aimed at revitalising key areas of Parramatta, including the River and Church Street Mall. They also form part of the Lord Mayor’s Healthy City initiative, designed to encourage a healthier lifestyle in the community.

“Our city animation program is about trialling and testing new projects to revitalise parts of our City; find out what works before we make any significant investments,” Cr Chedid said.

Row Boats on the River details:

When: Hours of operation are 11.00am to 2.30pm and 3.30pm to dark.

Where: Parramatta River, southern bank, between Church Street and Wilde Avenue, Parramatta

Cost: Ten vintage dinghies and two paddle wheelers are for hire, starting at $10 for half an hour.

Book about Jewish migrants wins CRC award

Migrants’ tale

The 2012 Community Relations Commission Prize for the Premier’s Literary Awards was given last month to Tim Bonyhady, author of “Good Living Street – The Fortunes of My Viennese Family.”

The book tells about the plight of the members of the Gallia family who, as Jews, fled Vienna for Australia in 1938 when Nazi Germany occupied Austria.

It tells the tale of the struggles of Jewish families under the Nazi regime and how the refugees found their way to Australia.

The judging panel was comprised of Stepan Kerkyasharian, CRC Chair, John Nieuwenhuysen Foundation Director of the Monash Institute for the Study of Global Movements and Mable Lee Adjunct Professor of Chinese Studies, University of Sydney.

Congratulating the winner, the Chair of the Commission, Stepan Kerkyasharian, said: “This book which recounts a sad chapter in world history also has messages for today as we tussle with the issue of refugees travelling across the oceans in small boats.

“But the strength of the work is the way in which it clinically examines the challenges of settlement in a new land.

“Many of the themes of the family’s experience in Australia – acceptance of overseas qualifications, identity in a new country, religious affiliations, the sense of belonging elsewhere and alienation in the adopted land, and the relationships between the different members and generations of the family are splendidly covered by the author.”

Tim Bonyhady also received The General History Prize ($15,000) of the 2012 NSW Premier’s History Awards for the same book.

There were 17 entries for the CRC Prize.