Australian Left Review


Ray Southall


In May 1982, the Commonweal th Department of Education published a paper entitled Towards a National Language Policy "to stimulate debate on language policy" and to call attention to the "pressing needs for research and surveys on language use and language learning in Australia". The paper proposed "that the time is right for the development of a coherent and co-ordinated policy on languages in Australia" and that to achieve such a policy "changes may have to be made to the education system". The fundamental issues which the paper poses are those considered in the Australian Council on Population and Ethnic Affairs report, Multiculturalism fo r All Australians: Our developing nationhood, which also appeared in May of this year. Of these, the most important is clearly that concerning Australian identity, towards which the attitude of the Commonwealth Department of Education paper is that expressed in the notion of "the mainstream culture", of which English is accepted as the vehicle and as the mother tongue of those of Anglo-Celtic origin.



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