SPORT/PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

The HREOC report What’s the Score: A Survey of Cultural Diversity and Racism in Australian Sport (2007) indicated that people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are much less likely than other Australians to engage in organised sport or to be physically active on a regular basis. The report cited issues constraining CALD participation, such as feelings of ‘not belonging’ in dominant sports in Australia (i.e. cricket and rugby). http://www.humanrights.gov.au/blog/2007/10/whats-score.html

There have been some important initiatives – post-Cronulla – in surf lifesaving, where the involvement of individuals from CALD backgrounds has improved considerably. http://www.surflifesaving.com.au/SurfLife_CMS/Clubs/OTSW/

Some of the larger professional sport bodies, such as the Australian Football League, have for several years championed anti-vilification policies and been proactive in terms of broader community engagement by committing resources and staff to indigenous and multicultural involvement in Australian football. For examples, see: http://www.afl.com.au/Development/Multicultural/tabid/10286/default.aspx http://www.aflsportsready.com.au/programs/page.asp?id=11

The Rudd Labor government has just released a policy agenda for sport under the title of Australian Sport: emerging challenges, new directions. Disappointingly, this document does not make any reference to cultural diversity, ethnicity, migrants, multiculturalism, etc. There is discussion of indigenous needs and priorities, but nothing about how sport might better engage people from CALD backgrounds. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/sport-australian-sport

CIVIC RITUAL

(to come)

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Like Amanda I find it difficult to nominate 2 issues, but for the sake of this discussion:

1. Religion, secularism & culture – since 2001, intercultural relations have often been reframed as interfaith relations, as seen in the spectacular rise of interfaith dialogue initiatives. The obvious subtext here is anxiety about Islam and Muslims in ‘secular’ Western societies (that are nonetheless founded on Christian traditions). This desecularisation of multiculturalism has received virtually no critical analysis. To criticise interfaith dialogue seems akin to criticising motherhood or friendship. But are cultural tensions in Australia based on religious differences? What is achieved by interfaith dialogue and what is left out of the discussion? And how should secular societies respond to the growing political assertiveness of religious groups – both Muslim & Christian?

2. Government multicultural policy – there seems a need for scholars to more actively engage in the processes of policy development & analysis around cultural diversity, particularly with the end of the long dark Howard era. The Rudd Government has already made some interesting decisions, e.g. abolishing TPVs, and appears to be reviewing some of its predecessors’ agendas, e.g. the citizenship test & the ‘Living in Harmony’ program. What changes are possible in this new era?