Citizenship and Political Participation of Vietnamese-Australians in Melbourne

Roberts, Mark (1998) Citizenship and Political Participation of Vietnamese-Australians in Melbourne. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


This thesis examines Vietnamese-Australians' attitudes towards citizenship and political participation in Australian society. Concepts of citizenship that seek to go beyond multiculturalism provide the framework, and quahtative interviews are used to gather the research data. Information-rich subjects were actively sought, so the Hst of interviewees includes people who are relatively well educated and in positions of some leadership. In that sense, it does not mirror the overall Vietnamese-Australian community. However, these people can think deeply about the issues under examination in this thesis and their contributions have been extremely valuable. Discussion centres on citizenship and barriers to participation, the Vietnamese community associations, and the 'friendship' agreement between District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City and the City of Maribyrnong. Analysis of the interview data reveals that Vietnamese-Australians value citizenship and are generally aware of rights and responsibilities. All Vietnamese-Australians retain an emotional attachment to Vietnam, while some feel an even stronger political obligation towards their homeland. For some people, this could detract from their participation, as has been shown by the strong reaction of the 'official' Vietnamese community to the 'friendship' arrangement organised by Mai Ho, as Mayor of the City of Maribyrnong. Interviews reveal a range of responses concerning this incident, illustrating that the Vietnamese-Australian community is growing in complexity and diversity. It appears that there are educated, second-generation Vietnamese-Australians who are growing into adulthood with ideas for the friture of the Vietnamese-Australian community. Politicians such as Mai Ho and Sang Nguyen have overcome enormous obstacles to achieve positions as public figures, however, data from interviewees suggests that their main role has been symbolic. They have shown that it is possible to participate, and for others to follow. These new representatives will have an Australian education, a more sophisticated command of English, and an awareness of an expanded citizenship that allows for greater inclusiveness. While using their skills for the Vietnamese-Australian community, they are also likely to be involved in the Australia-Vietnam relationship, and in contributing another voice to the broader Australian society.

Additional Information

Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
Historical > FOR Classification > 1606 Political Science
Historical > FOR Classification > 2002 Cultural Studies
Keywords community associations, friendship arrangement, Vietnam, Australia, attitudes, politics, society, citizens
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