2014 Australia Day Speech – Australia is a Hybri-cultural Nation


I’d like to acknowledge that our Citizenship Ceremony is being conducted on the traditional lands of the Aboriginal people… we respect their spiritual relationship with their country.

We also acknowledge that the Aboriginal people are the traditional custodians of the Adelaide region and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still important to the living Aboriginal people today.

I’d like to recognise David Pisoni MP, Member for Unley, Steph Key MP, Member for Ashford, Representatives from Unley Lions, Hyde Park Rotary and Unley Rotary, my fellow Elected Members on the Unley Council and most importantly the people here this day to have Australian Citizenship conferred on them, family and friends, ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of the City of Unley, happy Australia Day… Today we conduct the ceremony of citizenship as well as celebrate our local identities and heroes and I’d quickly like to acknowledge City of Unley residents who have been honoured:

AM – Mr Michael HEWITSON of Unley, also an Unley Councillor

OAM – Mrs Leonie HEMPTON of Malvern

OAM – Ms Brenda AYNSLEY of Parkside

OAM – Mr Scott McPHEE of Parkside

Australia’s citizenry is unique in composition… I believe we are; a hybri-cultural nation… That we have moved beyond the stagnant realm of a multicultural society which can counterproductively pigeonhole ethnic groups and which often places barriers between them…

Unlike Europe, Australia planned for and sought immigration…

And unlike the USA, Australia exhibits a population diversity that is not dominated by large blocs of minorities, as for their example of African Americans or Hispanics…

As Australians we comprise our origins from over 180 nations, with over 200 languages, and have a strong Indigenous presence… Our 2011 census showed us a nation in which 46% of us were born overseas or had one parent who was born overseas… It is in this last statistic that we really start to understand the reality of a nation which is hybri-cultural… A nation where the people are not just a collection of separated and distinct people of different backgrounds but a people culturally infused, sharing, learning, growing as a collectively interconnect community and hybri-cultural nation.

As an Australian society, our background multicultural dimension is special, is unique and is worth treasuring as an important part of our historic national discourse…

Our identity; at a national, state and local level is a reflection of our personal understandings of our individual experiences… Researchers of everyday multiculturalism use micro-ethnographic techniques to show that, in the suburban streets of Parkside, Goodwood, Unley, Clarence Park and Fullerton, in our mainstreet shopping districts, at Goodwood Primary school and Walford College, at Rotary and Lions clubs and Sturt Football and Forestville Eagles Basketball Clubs, members of diverse groups are constantly “doing recognition” in the mundane encounters that comprise everyday life…

Neighbours exchange YouTube clips on cooking shows originating from their birth country as they gather for driveway discussions; school children share gifts from grandparents who live abroad… And in these ways we see the growth of our hybri-cultural identity.

Exchanges of goods, information and care create micro-moral economies that bring people together, to enable the recognition or acknowledgment of otherness in situational specifity…

Cultural difference is now recognised pragmatically, as ordinary, normal and an unremarkable way of life… and for the naturalness with which we take otherness we are much blessed… that today it is unremarkable to go to school with a kid from Sudan, Singapore or Slovakia we pay tribute to our political forbears, say thank you for multiculturalism as we move towards hybri-culturalism…

Congratulations to our new citizens many of whom have journeyed to citizenship over a decade or more and we look forward to celebrating with you at our Australia Day festival outside. Thank you


Categories: Community in Unley, Election 2014, Mayor Clyne's Opinion, The City of Unley Council

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