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Ethnic Affairs Commission - New South Wales (1976 - )

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Government Agency


On June 2, 1976 the newly elected Australian Labour party Premier, Neville Wran, announced his cabinet's decision to establish an Ethnic Affairs Commission. Under the Ethnic Affairs Act, 1976 ( Act No. 76, 1976) (3) the Ethnic Affairs Commission's initial work involved the research and investigation of ethnic affairs with special emphasis on promoting the integration of different ethnic groups. The constitution and functions of a Commission to implement policy decisions in this area was also examined.

The Ethnic Affairs Commission interacted with a number of new government bodies all concerned with equal opportunity issues in society. These included the Anti-Discrimination Board which came into operation in June 1977 to address racial discrimination, the Review of New South Wales Government Administration which dealt with recruitment, promotion and equality of opportunity and the Women's Coordination Unit of the Premier's Department which had responsibility for creating opportunities for migrant women.

In 1978 the Ethnic Affairs Commission submitted its report, Participation, which outlined a concept of multiculturalism that went beyond preserving cultural heritage to a society where minority groups would achieve total participation in the New South Wales social and political system.

To implement this philosophy of equal opportunity Participation recommended that a Commission should be established as a strong and stable body to ensure that all elements of the New South Wales Government Administration come to regard ethnic affairs as part of their ordinary, day to day attitudes and thinking.

A new Ethnic Affairs Commission was established as a permanent government authority on 1 December 1979. It was established under the terms of the Ethnic Affairs Commission Act, Act No. 23, 1979. (7)

Sources used to compile this entry: Murphy, Brian, The Other Australia: Experiences of Migration, Cambridge University Press (in association with the Ethnic Affairs Commission), Melbourne, 1993; Ethnic Affairs Commission of New South Wales, 'Action Status of "Participation" as at 30 June 1979', Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, 1979-80 Vol. 5, pp. 889-909; Annual Report of the Ethnic Affairs Commission of New South Wales for the Year ended 30 June 1982, p. 9.

Related entries


  • Buckland-Fuller, Dorothy (1922 - )

    Dorothy Buckland-Fuller was a part-time commissioner on the ethnic affairs commission. She was responsible for issues relating to women, and contributed to the important, 1978 report Participation.

    Date: 1977 - 1981

Nikki Henningham

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