06 May 2009

Emigrating to Australia to get a new 'voice'

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People emigrating to Australia will need to brush up on their journalism skills if they want to become part of the New Australia Media programme.

The Australian community is built upon the hundreds of thousands of people emigrating to Australia every year, and as a result is predominantly a multicultural society.  Agnes Cusack, a former ABC journalist and broadcaster, has developed a new porthole for the thousands of budding journalists who have joined family and friends in emigrating to Australia, so that a new type of media can be born in Australia that represents its multiculturalism.

As the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) say: "It's hoped the mainstream media will become more multicultural, and the multicultural media more mainstream."

"Instead of preaching to journalists, telling them they have to embrace multicultural Australia, we put them in the middle of it. That’s where the stories will come from," said Ms Cusack.

"Our aim is to build confidence, to build skills within these young people. A lot of them have only been in Australia for a few months, and they’re extraordinary. They’re sophisticated people who want an education."

Ayan Shirwa is one such person who after emigrating to Australia from Somalia wants to have her voice heard about the Australian perspective of Muslim women. 

"I’m interested in issues that deal with Muslim women, and just getting across the message that we’re just like everyone else. Perhaps we might have a veil, but the veil shouldn’t be like a barrier," Ms Shirwa said.

Ms Shirwa has already had an article printed by The Age newspaper, and Ms Cusack hopes successes such as these will proliferate as the programme develops. 

"I live on the smiles, and what happens every day. It’s very important to help young people as they come into this country," Ms Cusack said.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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