Australia is the home to an increasing number of people from all over the globe. All individuals see the world through eyes reflecting their own culture, thus as a consequence, not all Australians think and behave in the same manner; they are a collection of difference. In terms of the Australian legal system, it has tried to alter and accommodate the growing influence of multiculturalism, the essence of modern society, but the objective of achieving a multicultural legal system is more challenging in practice than in theory.
It is clear that cultural differences often exacerbate the potential for conflict. Without improved inter-group relations, the full promise of an Australian democratic society will remain incomplete. The central dilemma confronting the nation today is how to make pluralistic ideals work in everyday settings, while fostering a sense of national cohesion, remaining open and accepting the culture and beliefs of ethnic minorities without straying into the problematic area of special rights for different groups.
As the Law Reform Commission stated for declining separate laws:
"Imposing special laws on people because they belong to a particular ethnic
group could introduce unjustified discriminations into the law, lead to un-
necessary and divisive labeling of people, and possibly be oppressive of
individual members of that group."
It would be unrealistic to think that the many cultural beliefs and perspectives that make up Australian society can be properly reconciled within the framework of Australian law.
An important aspect that is vital to understand when considering the legal system, is that the large majority of immigrants to Australia come voluntarily, and by the doctrine of implied consent or the notion of social contract, it would be erroneous to argue that they should not be subject to the laws governing Australia. This does not mean that people from...