2019 has already cast aside any doubt that we need to be ever vigilant in working towards an Australia where all people can belong, contribute and thrive. We have witnessed:
- Nazis and ‘white’ nationalists on a Melbourne beach;
- cuts to income and support for people seeking asylum;
- the pending deportation of a family who’ve made a life for themselves in a regional town and whose children were born in Australia;
- the murder of a young woman and international student;
- electioneering in which ‘immigrants’ are the scapegoats for all our social ills; and,
- hostility towards Australia’s First Peoples for daring to confront our nation’s history and proposing a better way forward.
In the face of these events, and as we’ve considered what 2019 might hold for Welcome, we’ve looked back on our past and imagined a better future.
As a movement and organisation, Welcome to Australia was conceived and named amid a political climate in which civility and our international responsibilities as good neighbours were being traded for expediency and populism. That the brand, and sentiment behind, Welcome to Australia even needed to exist indicates the culture of division and toxic response to humanitarian settlement, migration and visible minorities. As a name, Welcome to Australia, highlights the principle of the receiving community embracing newcomers. The name has served the movement and organisation well.
Over the past seven years, Welcome to Australia has grown and evolved.Our approach is less about ‘us’ and ‘them’, and far more about a collective approach. And in a country where sovereignty was never ceded, and First Nations still strive for self-determination, the initial welcome TO Australia should be led by First Peoples and Traditional Custodians.
As a movement and organisation, Welcome to Australia is maturing and with it, the time is right for us to mark that change.
We have begun a process of changing our name to Welcoming Australia. We believe this is a subtle but significant shift that is both aspirational and inclusive.
Welcoming Australia promotes a nation in which everyone can belong, participate and thrive in social, cultural, economic and civic life. Welcoming Australia suggests, and requires, a coordinated whole-of-community approach to migration, settlement, cultural diversity and inclusion.
Welcoming Australia is both who we are and who we strive to be.
What will change?
The organisation’s name and branding related elements will change such as our logo, social media handles, and website. We will also endeavour to communicate more clearly and directly about who we are, where we are heading and how you can get involved.
What won’t change?
Our vision, purpose and abiding commitment to the work of welcoming and inclusion both in this country and with our partners across the world – will unquestionably remain the same.
As one of the people who support, and the advance the cause of, Welcome – we wanted you to be among the first to know about this exciting development. We look forward to your continued involvement and to sharing the journey with you.