This Thesis is a study of the communication process through which prospective migrants became informed about life in Australia. It is addressed particularly to migration from Italy, where data was obtained during the period 1979 to 1981. The Study focusses upon the communication of information from official sources, namely the government, as represented by the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. Given the basic premise that appropriate information is an important aid to settlement, the proposal is made that problems can arise in the communication of that information. Various solutions to problems of settlement have been sought and applied since the inception of Australia’s post-war immigration program. While the period since 1977 has witnessed an increasing attention to the provision of post-arrival services for migrants, it is suggested that there has been little change in the provision of information overseas which might assist prospective migrants in the critical pre-migration period, The Thesis sets out an historical overview of the problem: a study of the principal participants in the present day context, a report of the research undertaken in Italy to examine both the communication process and the information needs of prospective migrants, and an analysis of the data based upon the application of communication theory. The Study revealed that certain topics, for which prospective migrants had expressed an information need, were not covered in pre-migration counselling sessions. Information on other topics reflected the orientation of the government, as communication source, and the migration officer as transmitter, and were not within the frame of reference of the applicants as receivers of the communication. Lack of mutuality regarding the purposes of information transfer, and the differing attitudes and perceptions of the participants in the communication process, created problems. The Study found that prospective migrants presented at different stages of readiness to receive information, and that assumptions were made regarding the information needs of Italian applicants which failed to take into account the fact that conditions have changed within Italy. Group counselling was initially successful, from a communication point of view, as a two-way process, but its unexpected outcome was decreased efficiency which conflicted with institutional objectives. If the communication of information is accepted as an important aid to settlement, the application of educational principles (which should improve both the communication process and the information conveyed} would lead to improved chances for settlement, with benefit to prospective migrants, the government, and the receiving society.
|Date of Award||1985|