Teacher Notes

Part A: A heated debate

Australia now has very different policies about immigration and citizenship than it had in the past.  Watch the following video where five members of the Federal Parliament reflect on the changing policies and evolution of Australian society.  These politicians from culturally diverse backgrounds have brought their varied perspectives to the Parliament.  They are (left to right in the video):

  • Ed Husic MP, from a Bosniak family, who was the first Muslim to be elected to Federal Parliament.

  • Josh Frydenberg MP, one of the few Jewish MPs to have served in Federal Parliament.

  • Senator Lisa Singh, born in Tasmania to an Australian mother and a naturalised Indian Fijian father.

  • Ken Wyatt AM, MP, an Aboriginal man form Western Australia whose mother was one of the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal children.

  • Maria Vamvakinou MP, who emigrated from Greece with her family at the age of four.

Show transcript

Reflect on or discuss the following questions:

  • What might culturally diverse parliamentarians, like these five, bring to the Australian Parliament?

  • How do these parliamentarians see Australian society today?  Do you agree with their perspectives?

  • Do you think Australian government policies have evolved sufficiently since 1901 in the areas of immigration and citizenship?  Why or why not?

While governments shape policy and laws, they need to be responsive to the views of Australians who elect them to govern.  Today, just as at the time of Australian Federation, there are many heated debates about who can be an Australian.  In the next part of this activity you will explore a range views about immigration and citizenship by joining a fictional lobby group.