“Our shared values”: The Liberal Coalition Government’s framing of Australia’s national identity and multiculturalism

fiona carey


Social work values call for the profession to engage in issues of social justice.  One such issue is Australian multicultural policy and the ideology that underpins it, which to date has largely been absent in social work research. This paper uses a post-colonial framework to explore themes of the ‘self’ and the ‘other’ in the Liberal Coalition Government’s citizenship and multicultural policy statements. The analysis found the Liberal Coalition Government’s perspective on multiculturalism is conservative based on their promotion of a colonial national identity while presenting an Islamic threat narrative. This paper contends that the promotion of this national identity functions to maintain colonial Australia as its core and argues this is problematic due to the challenges and exclusions this places on non-white Australians. The implications this has for the social work profession will also be discussed.

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