Peter Khalil, Federal Labor MP for Wills, alongside Labor Leader Anthony Albanese MP and Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles MP, launched the Labor Multicultural Engagement Taskforce (LMET) report.
The Taskforce was formed in late 2019 and engaged with multicultural stakeholders and community leaders across Australia for over 18 months and received more than 60 submissions to help inform how policies and services for Australia’s multicultural communities could be improved.
The report has put forward a number of policy recommendations for how a future Labor government would improve CALD access to government services and provide greater support to migrant-owned businesses.
One of the report’s recommendations is to establish a new CALD and Migrant focussed New Enterprise Incentive Scheme: Arrive and Thrive program to support new migrants and CALD communities in Australia in setting up small businesses. This would greatly increase access to government support by businesses owned by migrants and those from diverse backgrounds.
The report was launched at Melbourne’s Italian Museum in Carlton, and attended by multicultural community leaders, multicultural media, those who engaged with the Taskforce and other stakeholders.
Commenting on the LMET report Peter Khalil MP said : “As the son of Egyptian migrants who fled their home in search of a safer and brighter future, I understand what it’s like to grow up in a multicultural community. I know what it’s like to face prejudice, be confronted by structural and casual racism, and to grapple with identity and belonging.”
“Multiculturalism is about more than just food, festivals, and dancing. It goes to the core of our identity as a nation; who we are as a people.
“Migrants to Australia make a huge contribution to our communities and economy, with migrants twice as likely to start a business, and a third of small businesses owned by those born overseas.
Labor claims even with this success in the business world, there are still structural barriers to Australians of diverse ethnic backgrounds across many other sectors of the economy.
The report points to the fact that despite accounting for roughly a quarter of the Australian population, people of diverse ethnic backgrounds make up just a fraction of senior leaders in Australia. Fundamentally our parliaments, universities, and corporate boardrooms are a closed shop.
“The report we’ve launched today is an important first step in building a more representative Australia, where people of diverse backgrounds feel as though no door is closed to them” Mr Khalil added.
Peter Khalil is the son of migrant parents and grew up in an inner-city housing commission in Melbourne. He was first elected to the federal parliament from Wills, the old seat of former prime minister Bob HJawke in 2016. Prior to his election, Peter was a Victorian Multicultural Commissioner promoting cultural diversity, an Executive Director SBS, and national security advisor to the Prime Minister. Peter is a recipient of the Australian Overseas Humanitarian Services medal for his work with DFAT and the DOD rebuilding Iraq following the 2003 invasion.
Key Stats from the Report:
- Just 15 out of 227 Parliamentarians are non-European (6.5%)
- 5 Indigenous (2.2%)
- 10 are from non-European backgrounds (4.4%)
- 23 from Southern Europe or Jewish backgrounds (10.1%)
- 5.1% of the 2,490 ‘senior leaders’ in Australian are non-European
- 75.9% per cent have an Anglo-Celtic background
- 19.0 per cent have a European background
- 4.7 per cent have a non-European background
- 0.4 per cent have an Indigenous background.
- 5% of board members on ASX300 companies are from non-European backgrounds
- 33 per cent of small businesses are owned by migrants
- Nearly a third of Australians were born overseas – there are 7.6 million migrants in Australia.
‘Senior leaders’ are defined as:
- Chief executive officers of ASX 200 companies
- Federal ministers
- Heads of federal and state government departments
- Vice-chancellors of universities.
- Senior management at the level directly below chief executives and equivalent
- Group executives of ASX 200 companies
- Elected members of the Commonwealth Parliament
- Deputy heads of government departments
- Deputy vice chancellors of universities.
Leader author of Labor’s LMET report, Peter Khalil was very vocal in calling on the Australian government to bring home Australian Indians stuck in India after the government suddenly announced its India travel ban and cancelled all flights from India on 27 April.