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HomeAustraliaLiz Allen claims that Melbourne is a more diverse city than predominantly...

Liz Allen claims that Melbourne is a more diverse city than predominantly Caucasian Sydney for multicultural immigrants.


An academic has claimed that more migrants have moved to Melbourne because Sydney is considered a ‘more white’ city.

ANU demographer Dr Liz Allen told Daily Mail Australia that throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s ‘politicians in Sydney and NSW were making decisions that were not necessarily strategic with a long-term view’.

She pointed to former NSW Prime Minister Bob Carr’s announcement in 2000 after he claimed that ‘Sydney was packed’.

“This kind of unwanted rhetoric existed and we saw that at the federal level as well,” she said.

Her comment comes after Melbourne overthrew Sydney on Monday to become the country’s most populous city.

ANU demographer Liz Allen says attitude favoring Sydney as ‘more white’ has sent the latest wave of Australian immigrants to Melbourne

The title was transferred due to a technicality after Melbourne widened its western border, in part due to the increasing number of migrants from India moving to the area.

Melbourne has become the popular city with more Indian students also choosing to pursue a degree in the city.

Dr. Allen argued that Sydney may have celebrated multiculturalism but not practiced it as well as its southern rival.

“That translates to Melbourne taking the cake for welcoming more recent migrants to Australia,” said Dr Allen.

‘Melbourne is seen as more welcoming. We get the cultural perception that it is at the forefront of modern Australia, that Melbourne represents contemporary Australia in terms of its celebration of diversity.

Despite a move ‘towards celebrating diversity’, Dr Allen said Australia’s long history of favoring Anglo-Celtic migration is still reflected in popular attitudes.

‘There is a long-held opinion, I’m afraid, that many Australians view Australia as a white country, but Australia has a black history which we are not inclined to acknowledge as First Nations Australians were here long before white settlers’, she said.

‘We prefer not to talk about difference in this country, not to talk about diversity, and that goes back to a preference for assimilation. What that does is suppress any real acknowledgment of multiculturalism.’

She argued that even the data on where people or their parents were born does not reflect the changing nature of Australia.

“We are a much more diverse country than we are popularly inclined to praise ourselves,” she said.

“In Australia, we tend to have a higher than normal rate of interracial linkage, which means we have children who are born with very rich ethnic backgrounds and identities and we don’t recognize that.

“We’ve come to a point where it’s safer not to talk about differences for fear of making others uncomfortable.

If we were truly multicultural in terms of cultural matters, we would recognize and celebrate our diversity more seriously.”

She said Australia “needs appropriately trained and skilled migrants to help cope with the impact of an aging population,” but to attract those types of people, the country is competing with countries like the US, Britain and Canada.

She thinks the period of the Covid pandemic, when Australia closed its borders and expelled those on short-stay visas, did much damage to the country’s reputation for being migrant-friendly.

“Australia has done itself a huge disservice, we made our Prime Minister use the words ‘home’ where ‘home’ was Australia for many years for the intended recipients of this message,” she argued.

Sydney gave the impression of wanting to be 'whiter' at the turn of the century, argues Dr Aleen (photo from Sydney's Bondi Beach)

Sydney gave the impression of wanting to be ‘whiter’ at the turn of the century, argues Dr Aleen (photo from Sydney’s Bondi Beach)

Melbourne emerged as the more welcoming and diverse city, argues Dr Allen (pictured people crossing Bourke St in Melbourne's CBD)

Melbourne emerged as the more welcoming and diverse city, argues Dr Allen (pictured people crossing Bourke St in Melbourne’s CBD)

She said the increased hostility towards migrants during this period, with those on temporary visas being locked out of work by Covid measures without access to Medicate or other government assistance, was being noticed around the world.

“Those people were banished to the dump, we forced people in these situations to rely on the kindness of strangers,” Dr Allen said.

These stories are passed on to friends and family. People realized that Australia may not be the safe country that we like to tell people we are.

“We’ve suffered massive damage to the Australia brand and now we need to get past that with both exaggerated actions and policies.”

Dr. Allen believes that the immigration debate goes in cycles and while large amounts of skilled migration have had bipartisan support for years, there is a temptation for politicians to divide the population by talking about ‘us’ and ‘them’.

Despite concerns that Australia is taking in a record number of migrants, with more than 650,000 in two years, Dr Allen said he did not recognize that the net population increase would be small.

This is because those on temporary visas are shortening their stay during Covid.

The Covid period of closed borders, in which house prices skyrocketed and unemployment rose as businesses closed, also showed that migrants were not taking jobs or driving up housing costs, Dr Allen said.

She argued that migrants contributed much more economically and culturally than they ‘took’ and that they were needed to be the labor force for more schools, hospitals, shops and other services Australians wanted.

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