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Selection, Migration and Integration: Why Multiculturalism Works in Australia (And Fails in Europe)

Oliver Marc Hartwich | PM121 | 01 September 2011

Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world. Almost a quarter of the population was born abroad; almost half have at least one parent born overseas.

It is remarkable that this high degree of diversity has not led to social segregation. On the contrary, Australia’s migrants are extremely well integrated by international standards. Migrant children often reach better education results than the native population. Migrants are on average not more criminal than Australians, and they score very well in terms of their labour market results, too.

Other countries’ experiences with migration have been very different. In particular, migration into European countries like Britain and Germany has created socio-political tensions. Last year, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that multiculturalism had failed in Germany. More recently, Prime Minister David Cameron made similar remarks about the United Kingdom.

So why is it that multiculturalism works in Australia but failed elsewhere?

Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies.


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