Multiculturalism is one of Australia’s greatest achievements. As a nation with citizens from 200 countries speaking 260 different languages, diversity is one of our greatest strengths. But there’s more we need to do to support women from culturally diverse backgrounds to live fulfilling lives in Australia.
Migrant women can experience lower levels of economic security as they participate in the workforce at lower rates and their earnings are often low relative to their skills and experience. Women from culturally diverse communities who are experiencing violence can face barriers to accessing services and are less likely to leave a family violence situation than other Australian women.
Often, migrant women’s visa status can make them more vulnerable to abuse at home or exploitation in the workforce.
Women may be unable to leave a violent relationship due to their visa status because their only other option is to leave Australia without their children or because they have no access to income or non-emergency medical services.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in referrals for migrant and refugee women to specialist domestic and family violence services.
Too many women from culturally diverse backgrounds were let down and left behind by the Morrison Government during the pandemic. The Government has failed to support women on temporary visas – even failing to accurately translate important public health messages.
Many people have been separated from their families because of the Morrison Government backlog of 97,000 partner and 55,000 parent visa applicants, which needs to be fixed. The Government’s English language test for partner visas has also been described by experts as unfair and potentially dangerous for vulnerable women.
This Budget fails to provide a fair deal for multicultural communities, and to make sure the strengths of multicultural women are valued and recognised.