Definition of Multiculturalism

Developing a Culturally Competent and Inclusive Workplace


As a public policy multiculturalism encompasses government measures designed to respond to that diversity. It plays no part in migrant selection. It is a policy for managing the consequences of cultural diversity in the interests of the individual and society as a whole.

The Commonwealth Government has identified three dimensions of multicultural policy:

  • cultural identity: the right of all Australians, within carefully defined limits, to express and share their individual cultural heritage, including their language and religion
  • social justice: the right of all Australians to equality of treatment and opportunity, and the removal of barriers of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, gender or place of birth; and economic efficiency: the need to maintain, develop and utilize effectively the skills and talents of all Australians, regardless of background


Describes all the ways we differ from each other, two types of diversity: Cognitive diversity and Identity Diversity. Cognitive diversity is about our skills, talents, what we acquire through our learning and socialisation, and training. Identity diversity are all the elements that defines us and that we have little control over, such as age, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity.

Diversity Competence

Is a set of skills we need to help us deal with and respond to diversity ,the ability of being quite comfortable and confident around difference.


Is about the fair distribution of resources. It is about creating a level playing field for all depending on their needs. It’s about  recognising that we are different, we don’t start from the same point in life and we are not dealt the same number of cards, so it is about the measures taken to address disadvantage. It is not about treating people all the same.


Is the outcome we attempt to achieve following the implementation of equity measures.

Managing Diversity

Having diversity in a workplace is not an end in itself. If an organisation is not well prepared for accommodating diversity, it can do more harm as unmanaged diversity can lead to conflict and disharmony. Managing diversity is about having the necessary and required skills to deal with difference, draw on people’s strengths and talents, create synergies for complementary skills, know how to bring out the best in teams, engender an environment of respect and appreciation of difference by leading by example.

Social Inclusion

Being socially included means that people have the resources, opportunities and capabilities they need to:

  • Learn (participate in education and training)
  • Engage (connect with people, use local services and participate in local, cultural, civic and recreational activities)
  • Have a voice (influence decisions that affect them)