Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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Personal Conversation With Beryl Mulder

Personal Conversation With Beryl Mulder
Being Seen and And Heard: Migrant Women Organising In Australia, A Documentary History
Private Hands (contact Australian Women's Archive Project)

On June 5th, 2006, Beryl Mulder had telephone discussion with Dr Nikki Henningham (Executive Officer AWAP) about her lifelong and on-going role in multicultural politics and advocacy on behalf of migrant women. Throughout the course of the conversation, Mulder told a number of fascinating anecdotes:

1) In 1988 Beryl Mulder was appointed to the regional co-ordinators position in the Office of Multicultural Affairs in Darwin. An important principle of opearion was what she called 'The Jesuit Principle', which states that 'it's is holier to be forgiven than to ask for permission'.

2) In the late 1990s, Beryl Mulder was advised by a supervisor in the Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs that she would have to give up her work on the Ethnic Communities Council of the Northern Territory if she wanted to retain her employment in the department. She was advised that a letter from the department secretary had gone out to that effect. Mulder called around her network of women colleagues in the department and, on their advice, called her supervisor's bluff, demanding to see the letter. No such letter had ever been written, and the claim was widely regarded as the thin end of the wedge that was attempting to remove the word 'multicultural' from the department's activities

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