Sarwat Hassan, Journalist, Tribune International (Australia)
Multicultural March has been a great initiative by the NSW government to promote multicultural events in NSW. The credit goes to the Premier of NSW, Mr. Barry O’Farrell and Minister for Multicultural Affairs Mr. Victor Dominello for introducing such a remarkable concept of a month long celebrations. A series of events provides great opportunities to the members of the ethnic communities to share each other’s cultures and demonstrate solidarity as One Australia. The celebrations include concerts, street markets, sports competitions and film screenings and distribution of awards to the people and organisations of par excellence.
We, as Australian, have one of the most diversified societies with people from 150 ethnic backgrounds and where 200 languages are spoken. We are the people of different faiths that live side by side and enjoy each other’s traditional activities and events.
The Multicultural March is still a new concept and as it consists of 4-week long celebrations every year with variety of ideas and concepts it will be a big challenge for the government and organisers to maintain interest of the people at all levels in all events. NSW Government has taken another good initiative to acknowledge the services of individuals, group in running ethnic media or organising multicultural events by presenting awards in different categories. The distribution of awards to the community organisations, individuals and media groups will be a challenge as different community has different capacity and resources to organise an event or publishing a periodical. Therefore the jury of these award will have to create a mechanism where smaller and big communities will be acknowledged equally.
The Minister Victor Dominello wants everyone to be a part of Multicultural March because the motive of the Multicultural March is to bring all the communities on board to display, promote and share their ethnic characteristics (culture, language, art etc) however it will be a big challenge to bring small communities on board. It will be easier for the big communities to organise a big events because they have a larger population, capacity and resources whereas there some communities who are so small in numbers they cannot organise a single event.
This is the same issue as being faced by smaller communities in ethnic media publications. Smaller communities cannot run a newspaper or a magazine because their population is smaller and their businesses are limited whereas large communities can run even a daily publication because they easily achieve meet the publication costs from advertisements.
Now, when it comes to the awards presentations, these are only occupied by the larger communities because their events are big and their publications are heavy. This discourages the active, talented and sincere members of the smaller communities because they are not even considered for the award because their work and services are not so visible.
Therefore, the Premier, Minister and NSW Government has to look into matter and make criteria of acknowledging and presenting awards such a manner that everyone community no matter what the population size or outreach in the mainstream media will be equally recognised, rewarded and supported to ensure small or big will get equal opportunity.