FECCA today pays tribute to Bob Hawke, who as Prime Minister sought to enshrine in the nation’s character and law the principle that all Australians, wherever they came from, were entitled to the same opportunities.
During a period of tension and xenophobia directed at migrant communities, Bob Hawke rejected division and instead brought Australia closer to its neighbours, recognising that Asia was central to Australia’s future prosperity.
Australian multicultural public policy was consolidated and embedded in the machinery of Government in Bob Hawke’s time as Prime Minister with the creation of the Office of Multicultural Affairs in his own portfolio – the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. It played a pivotal role in advancing multicultural public policy from its creation in 1987.
Bob engaged with FECCA regularly, and during his time in office worked to make Government institutions more accessible to migrant communities, including through the establishment of the National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia.
Australia needs champions of unity like Bob as much today as ever. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.
He loved people; regardless of race.
He hated racism and bigotry.
He was a Champion for Multiculturalism.