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MPSE-012: State and Society in Australia

MPSE-012: State and Society in Australia

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: MPSE-012/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: MPSE-012

Assignment Name: State and Society in Australia

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor




1. Examine the key features of multiculturalism in Australia.

Ans) Australian diversity, according to Prime Minister Paul Keating, is the best in the world. Multiculturalism was not even mentioned in the election programmes of the National or Liberal parties in the 2004 elections. Since 2001, when the Australian Labor Party opted to make itself a "small target," the party has not expressed a position on the issue.


In general, multiculturalism in Australia has had at least three main goals from a policy perspective: to ensure social cohesion in a society that has become extremely diverse due to immigration from over 100 countries and 200 ethnic groups; to utilise the cultural capital represented by the growing economic diversity, or "productivity diversity" as economists refer to it; and to foster global consciousness among its citizenry based on inter-culturism.


At the start of the twenty-first century, the results of a non-discriminatory immigration policy and multiculturalism during the previous three decades were becoming clear. Australia has expanded its diversity. The number of immigrants in 2002–03 was approximately 94,000; of them, almost 28,000 were family reunion applications, 35,000 were skilled immigrants, over 16,000 were New Zealanders, and less than ten thousand arrived under humanitarian programmes as refugees, etc. The percentage of Australians who were born abroad has likewise stayed constant. New settlements have emerged between 1996 and 2001, frequently as a result of the influx of refugees. There are now more people who speak languages outside English at home. The Shona-speaking population in Africa is one of the immigrant language groups with the quickest rate of growth, followed by the Somalis and Afrikaans-speakers. Despite being few, four of the six language groups saw their populations treble. The numbers of the following religious communities have more than doubled according to census data: Albanian Orthodox, Maronite and Melkite Catholics. Buddhism has increased by 80%, Hinduism by 42%, Islam by 40%, and Antioch Orthodox has increased by 90%.


The states are in charge of welfare, education, and health, among other things, according to the Australian constitution's division of powers, while the federal government is in charge of immigration. Human rights and cultural development are just two of the many topics that are simultaneously governed by law. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission oversees the administration of the numerous human rights laws on a national level (HREOC). The HREOC's judicial authority has somewhat diminished recently, although its emphasis on consultation and education is still extremely strong. The federal law that pertains to multiculturalism is primarily focused on preventing discrimination against people based on race and ethnicity and on providing legal remedies for organisations or people who have been subjected to hate speech. Hate speech is not, however, subject to criminal punishment.


There is no multiculturalism legislation or national rights framework for the preservation and expression of cultural diversity in Australia, in contrast to Canada. However, there are a number of organisations that deal with multiculturalism, including broadcasting services for radio and television that are available in multiple languages. Additionally, each state has its own laws governing ethnic and human rights. The first state to launch a multicultural programme is New South Wales. For a Multicultural NSW, it has chosen to establish a Community Relations Commission.


2. What is the role of Australian economy in the era of globalization?

Ans) Australia’s established world reputation has long been that of a wealthy underpopulated country prone to natural disasters, its economy depending heavily on agriculture and foreign investment. This description was reasonably fair during the first century of European settlement, when wool exports reigned supreme. Wheat, beef, lamb, dairy produce, and a range of irrigated crops also became important, but the key significance of farming and grazing was not challenged. However, this image was shattered by the growth of manufacturing and services and especially by the spectacular developments in mineral exploitation after World War II.


In another sense, there was no break in continuity. Reliance on foreign investment and a vulnerability to world markets made it difficult for Australians to divest themselves of their traditional roles as minor or peripheral players in an interconnected global system. As manufacturing began declining in the last decades of the 20th century, other aspects of this entrenched dependency status were exposed. Australia’s governments have usually shown a pronounced readiness to intervene in the economy, but in general the economy has been dominated by foreign interests—first by those of the United Kingdom, then by the United States and Japan, and more recently by giant multinational corporations.


Nonetheless, there are two distinct and comparatively new features of Australia’s economy. The first has been a grudging acceptance of the vital economic and strategic significance of the Asia-Pacific region and a rising awareness of the opportunities to be grasped there. Second, despite a measure of discomfiture in some quarters, Australia’s corporate, financial, political, and bureaucratic cultures have steadfastly embraced a more rationalist economic philosophy that seemed to accept as inevitable a comprehensive globalization and deregulation of the country’s economy.


Agriculture, forestry, and fishing


Most of Australia’s soils are mediocre or poor by world standards. There are no extensive areas of rich, adaptable soils that compare to those of the great intensive farming regions of other sizable countries (e.g., the Cotton and Corn belts of the United States). Chemical deficiencies are particularly common, and it is often necessary to apply generous amounts of phosphate and traces of numerous other nutrients.


Native flora and fauna have been dramatically undervalued. When Europeans began colonizing Australia in 1788, nearly one-tenth of the continent may have been covered by forest, and two-fifths by woodlands, including savanna woodlands. It seems likely that less than half of the forested area had commercial potential. Yet, until the late 20th century, clearing was done at a frenzied rate and often indiscriminately. In the late 1980s it was roughly estimated that, with the exception of the Northern Territory, the proportions of forest and scrub cover cleared during two centuries of European occupation was between one-third and two-thirds in each state. Even if this is somewhat overstated, it suggests a thoroughly savage onslaught, given the relatively short period of European occupation and the European population’s originally restricted distribution.


Overgrazing has caused some deterioration of the saltbush, stunted trees, and native grasslands of the interior, but in the tropics the productivity of the original pastures has been increased by introducing improved strains of grasses and heat- and tick-resistant cattle. Far too little has been done to farm the kangaroo and wallaby populations on a commercial basis; this might be preferable, on economic and environmental grounds, to the regular culling operations that mainly serve the pet-food trade.


Accelerated soil erosion, including rampaging gully erosion and disfiguring landslips, was noted by the first generations of European settlers in the south-eastern colonies. The threat of soil salinization was reported later, especially in the irrigation districts where it was associated with overwatering and poor drainage.


3. Analyze the response of the Australian state to women’s issues.

Ans) The women's movement in Australia has a long history of articulating women's issues in order to spur cohesive group action. It is now widely acknowledged that as women's issues have become more global in scope and women have been actively mobilised, the women's movement has entered what is known as the "second wave of feminism" in Australia. In this wave, women's groups have become more strategically organised than ever before, have adopted militant strategies, and have become more aware of the global history of women's movements.


The issue of sexism in political parties and labour unions, in the fight for equal pay, in the family, and in other organisational forms is now being brought to light by the new wave of feminists. Whereas early feminists felt it had to openly embrace the nuclear family's status quo, they have articulated "critiques of domestic and family life." The second wave's slogan, "The Personal is Political," sums up the contrast by emphasising the necessity to regard sexual relations, household chores, and child care as political issues. The second wave of feminists do, however, hold a variety of views. Many people do not believe that the family is intrinsically exploitative and do not concur that it should be abolished in order to achieve gender equality.


The Australian government has launched a number of measures to raise the position of women in Australian culture. Beijing Plus Action Plan is a relatively new initiative. An outline of this strategy is provided below:


Australia's Beijing Plus Action Plan


In 2000, the National Office for Women in Australia has initiated a comprehensive implementation strategy, which focused on working closely with government departments.


Indigenous Women: Numerous initiatives to increase opportunities for indigenous women and lessen violence in their lives are supported by the Australian government. To improve the government's engagement with Indigenous women, a new national Indigenous Women's Advisory Group was formed.


Domestic Violence: The Australian government has made ending violence in the lives of women and girls a top priority. The initiative aims to evaluate fresh methods for stopping domestic abuse. Finding safe ways to reduce the number of homeless women and children, educating young people about healthy relationships, testing models of integrated work between crisis and housing services and the justice system, and providing grants to indigenous organisations to aid them in developing creative solutions to family violence in their communities are just a few examples of recent innovative projects.


Sexual Assault and Trafficking: The National Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault was launched by the Australian government in 2001 to combat sexual assault. Legislations addressing child sex tourism, organised crime, slavery, sexual servitude, and other forms of trafficking are all aimed at preventing it at the federal level. Australia continues to offer extensive assistance to other nations striving to end violence against women and girls. Australia is attempting to improve perceptions of violence against women and children with the help of partner governments and NGOs in developing nations.


Communication Technologies: Australia places a high priority on ensuring that women have access to and involvement in the media and information and communication technologies (ICTs). A variety of informational resources for women are also supported by Australia. Australia's First Women's Portal is a single point of access to online government information research, services, and resources that are pertinent to women. It is an online facility for obtaining data and research for and about women on a number of subjects that are important to women.




Write a short note on each part of the question in about 250 words.


4. a) Role of pressure groups in Australia

Ans) Pressure groups also differ from political parties. Political parties are broad and all-encompassing, and make a direct attempt to capture political power. A pressure group has a narrow programme, its members or adherents are small in number, and it seeks to influence policy making on a narrow range of issues. Sometimes however, such a distinction does get blurred, and a pressure group may itself seek to become a political party, albeit one which is narrowly focussed. There once was the short-lived single-issue Nuclear Disarmament Party in Australia, which crossed the threshold and became a party. Green parties can also be bracketed as environmental pressure groups who became political parties. Some pressure groups, like trade unions, not only put pressure on the government of the day but may also be an important constituent of some political party. Major trade unions and their apex associations are the industrial wing of the Australian Labour Party. Leading farmers' associations have long been the backbone of the National Party.


Every year, government itself asks major national pressure groups to present their briefs and inputs to the cabinet. The occasion is also publicised in national media. Such groups otherwise continue to work behind the scenes all-round the year for their demands. Some such activities have been institutionalised and bring pressure groups and bureaucracy in direct contact with each other. Groups not only pressurise the bureaucracy but also become a source of useful information and advice. Government departments regularly consult chambers of commerce, industry, associations of medical practitioners, etc. for making and implementing policies. There are many statutory corporations too, where representatives of various pressure and interest groups are involved-sometimes as advisors, at others as direct participants. These include, for example, the Australian Wheat Board, and Australian Wool Corporation. Representatives of pressure groups are included not only in policymaking but also in policy administration too. One pressure group, the Returned Services League, is even more influential. It has its own department, the Veterans' Affairs, and its own minister in cabinet.


b) Australia’s nuclear non-proliferation policy

Ans) In February 1970 Australia signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), committing not to acquire nuclear weapons, and to adhere to strong non-proliferation obligations. Since then, Australia has been one of the treaty's strongest supporters. In 1995, Australia and other signatories collectively succeeded in ensuring the Treaty was extended indefinitely.


The NPT has three main pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The treaty provides ongoing security benefits to all States by curbing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and it commits nuclear-weapon states to work towards disarmament through Article VI obligations. The NPT enables the international community to benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology, supporting human health, agriculture, food and water security, and the environment.


The International Atomic Energy Agency is central to the implementation of NPT commitments on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy through its system of international nuclear safeguards, and as a multilateral forum for supporting the peaceful applications of nuclear technology.  Article VIII of the NPT provides that the Treaty be reviewed every five years. The primary objectives of these five-yearly Review Conferences are to assess developments since the previous conference, to address current challenges, and to identify areas for further progress. Australia has been an active and constructive participant in all NPT Review Conferences.


At the 2010 NPT Review Conference, States Parties agreed to a final document that included conclusions and recommendations for follow-on action on nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the Middle East. The 2010 NPT Action Plan has provided an important and consensus-based roadmap in the absence of an agreed outcome from the 2015 NPT Review Conference.


Australia will continue to work to preserve and strengthen the NPT and the norms it enshrines as the cornerstone of multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. By focusing on areas of convergence, finding common ground, building dialogue and progressing effective measures towards nuclear disarmament.


5. a) Role of Senate in Australian Parliament

Ans) Senators from each state make up the Senate, which is the highest house of parliament. The senators are chosen "directly" by the citizens of the states. Regardless of size, population, or level of economic development, all six of the Australian Commonwealth's states are equally represented in the Senate. Six senators from each state were initially chosen; this number increased to ten in 1949 and to twelve in 1983. You must understand that the Senate has the same legislative power as the House of Representatives.


Any law must receive support from both chambers in order to be put into effect. With the exception of money bills, which it may not submit or alter, the Senate may suggest amendments to or reject any law, including money bills.


Each state directly elects 12 senators. With the election of two senators from each of the two National Territories, the total number of senators rises to 76. Under actuality, the idea of a senate protecting and defending the interests of the states in the Commonwealth administration in the 1890s influenced the case in favour of a national government. A century later, many Australians now consider the Senate to be "undemocratic" and some even advocate for its total abolition.


There are many different ways that the Senate is being criticised. Some claim that a house of states does not naturally match the notions of "responsible" government. The Senate has "equal power with the House of Representatives in respect to all proposed laws," with the exception of being unable to introduce or modify money bills. The Senate, which shares "equal power" with the House of Representatives, has the ability to reject legislation passed by the former. This increases the likelihood of a legislative deadlock.


b) Healthcare and Education policy of Australia

Ans) Health-Care Policies: Australia is often described to as a healthy country because there are excellent health programmes in place, according to most sources. At birth, men can expect to live for 75 years, and women can expect to live for 89 years. Every thousand live births, there are seven baby deaths.  Australia has the necessary healthcare infrastructure in place to handle a variety of healthcare challenges. There are primary healthcare facilities where general practitioners practise privately on a fee-for-service basis, with the federal government reimbursed for 85% of their fees through the Medicare subsidy programme. These facilities are in addition to well-equipped public hospitals, which offer 5 beds per 1,000 patients on average. The subsidy programme is funded by a 1.5 percent tax on taxable incomes, with general revenue covering the remaining expenses. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme further guarantees that no household will pay more than $AU 600 annually for prescription medications. Health expenditures in Australia total 8.5 percent of GDP, or $AU 2000 per person.


Educational Policies: Australia has generally decent educational standards. The GDP is roughly 5% of the total amount spent on education. One of the educational services offered by the federal and state governments is free tuition. Federal transfers provide 90% of the funding for government-run schools, with the remaining 10% coming directly from the federal government. Private schools receive government funding as well; 65% of it comes from the federal government and 35% from state governments. School attendance is obligatory for children between the ages of six and fifteen. A total of 36 universities provide tertiary-level higher education, and many state-based technical and further education (TAFE) institutions provide vocational training. The federal government (17%) and the states (71%) provide the majority of the money for these; the remaining 12%) comes from tuition fees. To assist students in secondary and higher education, the federal government provides Austudy, a means-tested education stipend. The national average for the ratio of male to female tertiary students is 53:47. In all, nearly as many people between the ages of 15 and 24 attend TAFE as enrol in tertiary education.

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