Temporary Migration and Australian Multiculturalism

Stream: Panel 31 - Political Theory: Temporary Migration 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 11.30 am – 1.00 pm


This paper assesses whether or to what extent temporary migrants are ill served by Australian multiculturalism and, more generally, the ramifications of temporary migration for Australia’s successful multicultural society. To this end, it pursues three questions: 1) Does multicultural policy apply to temporary residents even though it may be designed for citizens?; 2) How are the difficulties temporary residents face linked to multicultural policy?; and 3) What is the best way forward for addressing the situation and increasing numbers of temporary residents? The paper reaches several conclusions: multicultural policy is much more accessible and beneficial to temporary migrants than is often claimed. An approach that valorizes citizenship and which provides clear and reasonable pathways to permanent and temporary migrants for becoming citizens is still the most effective model available. Multicultural policy should be further developed to meet the circumstances of the growing number of temporary entrants in Australia. However, this effort is currently hampered by some incongruities in government policy.


Geoffrey Brahm Levey (Presenter), UNSW School of Social Sciences
Geoffrey Brahm Levey is an Associate Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow in Political Science. His current research is in contemporary political theory, with special reference to multiculturalism, ethnicity, religion, nationalism, and citizenship.