The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) pays tribute to one of our country’s most visionary leaders, a man who abolished the White Australia Policy and replaced it with a policy of multiculturalism, the Hon Gough Whitlam.
ECCV chairperson Eddie Micallef said the policies Whitlam’s Government introduced helped pave the way for the harmonious, inclusive and culturally diverse Australian society we enjoy today.
“While Gough’s contribution to society can be marked in many positive ways, from healthcare reform, to free access to university education, ECCV honours him for his commitment to Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities, in abolishing discriminatory policies and extending social and education provisions previously not in place,” Mr Micallef said.
“Multiculturalism was accepted as the basis of ethnic affairs policies during the Whitlam Government.
“ECCV’s founder Walter Lippmann had connections to Gough. In 1975, when the ECCV had only been in operation a few months, as Prime Minister, Gough met with founders, acknowledging the significance of unified ethnic councils such as ECCV. He was so impressed that he invited ECCV to nominate members for the soon to be established Commission on Racial Discrimination and Human Rights.
“Whitlam’s dismissal in 1975 shocked and outraged Victoria’s migrant communities – he did more to improve the conditions and perception of ethnic minorities in Australia than any previous Prime Minister, and for this, many migrants considered him a hero.”
“ECCV acknowledges Gough Whitlam. A man who could clearly see the benefits a culturally diverse society would bring to Australia. A man of principles, passion and determination to stand up for what was right.”
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