Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson


    Bullcreek man features in new book on Government migrant workers

    15/12/2000 11:53 AM

    The inspirational stories of people working in one of the world’s most diverse workplaces can be found in a new publication called Voices of Diversity.

    Voices of Diversity traces the journeys of 14 migrants now working in Western Australia’s public sector and is a joint project of the Office of Citizenship and Multicultural Interests and the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.

    Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Rob Johnson said Voices of Diversity provided a unique insight into the experiences of migrants in the workplace.

    “Many State public sector employees were born overseas and their contributions highlight the importance of this sector as an equal opportunity employer able to support difference and promote diverse management practices,” Mr Johnson said.

    “Specifically, these authors provide inspiration for dealing with obstacles, relay positive experiences and offer suggestions to new recruits who may find themselves in similar positions.”

    One of the employees, Bullcreek’s Rasa Subramaniam, said age was more a barrier to his career than ethnicity.

    Born in Malaysia of Sri Lankan parentage, Mr Subramaniam left home at 17 to do a science degree and completed a cadetship in medical radiography in 1972.

    Upon his arrival in Australia, he was offered a job as a relief radiographer - a job that took him to the North-West of WA.

    “As a new arrival I was apprehensive about going to small country towns as I was unsure how people would react to me,” Mr Subramaniam said.

    “However, my concern was unfounded. My arrival at each new posting was greeted with warmth, affection and hospitality.

    “I never experienced any form or sort of discrimination, in part because I was actively involved in the communities in which I worked whether that meant a beer at the local pub or membership of the Red Cross Younger Sets.”

    Upon his return to Perth, Mr Subramaniam got a job at Fremantle Hospital, where he has worked ever since. He has also taken time out to further his studies and is a councillor on the City of Melville.

    “I believe that to succeed a person must attempt to be part of a work culture and that a mentor can provide invaluable advice and guidance,” he said.

    “However, the most important thing is being a part of the working environment, once this has been achieved everything else falls into place.”

    Voices of Diversity features the stories of migrants from Canada, China, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Vietnam.

    Copies are available from State Government agency libraries or by calling Public Affairs at the Office of Citizenship and Multicultural Interests on 9426 8690.

    Media contact: Fran Hodge (08) 9215 4800