Essay by chillemagooJunior High, 9th gradeA, March 2008

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From as early as 1788, the shores of the Australian continent have been flooded by a myriad of migrants, predominantly during the post-war periods. The island once populated only by indigenous inhabitants is now home to a diversity of people. Immigrants from all over of the globe have flocked to the golden shores of Australia, bringing with them a taste of home and their unique ethnicity. As such, Australia has come to be known as a multicultural society; a conglomeration of unique ethnicities, an amalgamation of both foreign and distinct ‘Australian’ culture.

Can we be proud of Australia’s response to this influx of people? On the whole, yes. In the past we have made big mistakes regarding cultural differences (e.g. the ‘White Australia’ policy). Even though we still have many issues with racism and the like, most people living in Australia possess ingrained, relatively unprejudiced multicultural attitudes. Australia as a nation encourages tolerance and acceptance.

Family, friends, teachers and the wider community all play a part in encouraging positive attitudes in Australia’s youth and when one of these groups fall short another will usually pick up the slack.

From a very young age we are exposed to the benefits of our multicultural society. From something as simple as the Chinese shop down the road to the option of studying traditions, beliefs and religions from countries much older than our own there are numerous opportunities available.

One of the ways our nation has repeatedly failed however is that we are only willing to take advantage of those opportunities that do not require effort. This laziness causes a lack of understanding of cultural differences which in turn can lead to conflict. For example, in Malaysia, it is disrespectful to look an authority figure directly in the eye. In Australia, almost the...