Multicultural Bill Presented to ACT Parliament

Thursday 27 October 2022 @ 11.33 a.m. | Legal Research | Immigration

On 11 October 2022, the Multiculturalism Bill 2022 (ACT) (“the Bill”) was presented to the ACT Legislative Assembly by Minister for Multicultural Affairs Tara Cheyne ("the Minister").

The Bill was previously introduced as a draft for public consultation on 14 June 2022, and was originally titled the draft Multicultural Recognition Bill 2022 (ACT). Consultation on the draft closed on 26 July 2022.

According to the Bill's Explanatory Statement, it aims to:

"(a) establish and promote the charter for multiculturalism; and

(b) establish the ministerial advisory council for multiculturalism (the Council); and

(c) provide a framework for the review and continuous development of the government’s promotion of multiculturalism."

The framework proposed by the Bill seeks to complement the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT) and Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT) accountability measures that protect equality and diversity.

Introduction of a Multicultural Charter

The Bill proposes the introduction of a Charter for Multiculturalism ("the Charter"), which aims to articulate the Government's vision and commitment to multiculturalism. 

Schedule 1 of the Bill contains the proposed Charter, which states:

"Regardless of your background and experiences, and how you have come to be in the ACT—

  1. you are welcome and your contributions to our community are value
  2. you are free and safe to express, practise, maintain and celebrate your cultural, religious and spiritual identity
  3. you are entitled to use, preserve and share your language
  4. you are free to participate as equals in the civic, cultural, economic, educational, political and social life of the ACT
  5. you are entitled to equitable access to information, services and programs provided to our community

We have a shared responsibility to—

  1. value the contributions of all people, regardless of their backgrounds and experiences
  2. embrace and realise the benefits that diversity brings to our civic, cultural, economic, educational, political and social life
  3. create a harmonious and unified community based on mutual respect, trust and understanding
  4. end racism and other forms of unlawful discrimination."

Comments on the Bill

The Minister commented in an October Media Release:

"The ACT is a rapidly growing culturally and linguistically diverse community. We are a city that welcomes people and supports them to belong and participate in the social, political, cultural, economic, educational and civic life of our city...Initially titled the Multicultural Recognition Bill, the new title “multiculturalism” reflects the feedback we received from the community that the legislation should celebrate multiculturalism and diversity, not only recognise it."

The CEO of ACT Council of Social Services Inc, Dr Emma Campbell commented in different Media Release:

“The inclusion of a ‘shared obligation to stop racism, discrimination and the negative effects they have on our community’ speaks to the ACT’s need for anti-racist policy provisions including positive duty legislation, funding for an independent [culturally and linguistically diverse] CALD peak body and an ACT anti-racism strategy.”

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