NEW and existing migrants from all ethnic backgrounds will have to "demonstrate a unified commitment to Australia" under new state laws, after changes were approved at a State Cabinet meeting yesterday.
Until now the Community Relations and Principles of Multiculturalism Act stated all institutions and people had to "respect and make provision for the culture, language and religion of others".
Community Relations Commission chairman Stepan Kerkyasharian said the law change would create a new definition of multiculturalism.
"We're not telling people to change their religion - we're not telling people to all look the same," he said.
"There are some things where we have to be all the same. Those things are the way we obey the law and the way we demonstrate our commitment to Australia.
"What this [change] does, it says that while we accept that Australians have different languages, backgrounds, they may speak different languages at home, they may have different religions.
"As Australians we all have a commitment to this country."
He said the laws of Australia would now be recognised above people's cultural backgrounds.
And I might add, not before time.