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Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism

In this scene, Al Grassby, William Liu and Arthur Calwell are shown at centre right, signifying the end of the White Australia policy. At centre left, Wang Guoquan, the first Chinese ambassador is meeting members of the Australian Chinese community

Al Grassby, William Liu and Arthur Calwell are shown at centre right, signifying the end of the White Australia policy. At centre left, Wang Guoquan, the first Chinese ambassador representing the People's Republic of China, is meeting members of the Australian Chinese community.

Reforms and relations

The end of the White Australia policy occurred when Al Grassby Minister for Immigration, introduced the policy of multiculturalism in 1973. Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's Labor government also abolished university fees, which brought about a significant increase in the number of ethnic Chinese students studying in Australia. There followed a series of other legislative and institutional reforms which were, in turn, expanded by Malcolm Fraser's Liberal–National Country Party government and Bob Hawke's Labor government. Acts passed included the International Labour Organisation Act 1973, the Australian Citizenship Act 1973 and the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 which enabled Australia to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination.

Less than three weeks after his election, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam formally established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. On 21 December 1972, Australia and China signed joint communiqués in Paris to establish relations at ambassadorial level, signifying a new era in Australian and Chinese relations. When Dr Stephen Fitzgerald left Australia in February 1973 to become the first Australian ambassador to China, he was farewelled by 600 Chinese Australians at a grand banquet in Sydney. Three months later, His Excellency, Wang Guoquan, the first Chinese ambassador to Australia, was warmly welcomed.