The Ethnic Communities Council of WA (ECCWA) is the State’s peak ethnic umbrella organisation.

ECCWA is a non-government, non-profit community based organisation, which takes an active interest in all aspects of multiculturalism and ethnic affairs and acts on behalf of all ethnic communities in Western Australia.


ECCWA Welcomes New Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs

paulpapaliaHon. Paul Papalia CSC, MLA, Graduate Diploma Business Administration.
Minister for Tourism; Racing and Gaming; Small Business; Defence Issues; Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs

Mr. Papalia was born in Bunbury on 12 July 1962, and raised in the small country town of Burekup before joining the Navy at 15 years of age in 1978. His military career lasted 26 years, during which time he became a Navy Clearance Diver, served in the counter terrorist squadron of the Special Air Service Regiment and deployed twice to Iraq on operations.

He served as Commanding Officer of a Clearance Diving Team and a Patrol Boat and his final military posting was as manager of the Navy’s Submarine Escape and Rescue Service.

Paul served with the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq during the early 1990s, and was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 1994 for his work there.

After leaving the military in 2004 as a Lieutenant Commander, Paul worked with my wife in small business before having the honour of being elected to represent the seat of Peel at a by-election in February 2007. At the 2008 state election, the seat of Peel was split and he was elected to the new seat of Warnbro. He was re-elected to the seat of Warnbro at the state elections in 2013 and 2017.

Prior to the election he held the shadow portfolios of Tourism, Corrective Services, Defence Issues, Gascoyne and Goldfields-Esperance, but has held several other shadow portfolios before that including “Local Government; Heritage; Citizenship; Multicultural Interests; and Corrective Services from 26 September 2008 to 8 April 2009.

Paul is married to Gillian and they have two sons, Daniel and Jacob

ECCWA is very proud that Premier McGowan gave him the ministerial responsibility for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs and we look forward to working with him.

Message from the President


ECCWA congratulates the Hon. Mark McGowan on the ALP’s historic landslide victory in the March state election and his appointment of the Hon Paul Papalia as the Minister for Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, who has also been assigned the portfolios of Tourism; Racing and Gaming; Small Business; and Defence Issues.

As we indicated in our media releases, Multiculturalism was at its zenith in this state during the term of the Gallop government, and the Hon. Mark McGowan was an important member of Premier Gallop’s team as his Parliamentary Secretary. He is therefore well placed to reverse the institutional racism that was perpetuated by Messrs Castrilli and Nahan in their capacity as Ministers for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests and usher in another golden era for Multiculturalism.

We also commend Premier McGowan for giving Mr. Papalia, the portfolio responsibility for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests as we believe he is very well equipped for it and we have outlined our reasons for the same in our media release.

In his Inaugural Speech, Mr Papalia observed, “optimism and hope are things I have encountered constantly throughout my short but very crowded political life. My Navy service as a clearance diver has shaped who I am. Mateship, determination, courage and an abiding sense of humour distinguish the clearance diver. The answer to the journalist’s question of why would I become a politician is simple. Given the opportunity, I felt obliged to step forward.”

He also conveyed, “I also believe there are many good men and women on both sides of politics. I believe that all those who enter this place do so with the intention of doing good and serving their community. The vast majority of members maintain that focus and contribute greatly to the betterment of our society. I believe it is essential that we attract good aspirants to political life from as many walks of life as possible. Therefore, faced with the opportunity to contribute, I simply had no choice.”

ECCWA and I strongly believe such qualities and commitment will endear him to ALL Western Australians and not just those of CaLD background”. It will also hopefully end the partisan approach that his two predecessors adopted to this portfolio.

Given his aforementioned knowledge, skills, traits, experience and commitment, our Council believes that Mr. Papalia is very well placed to reverse the institutional racism that was perpetuated by the Barnett government and usher in another golden era for Multiculturalism.

We look forward to working with him, the Premier and his colleagues to achieve this goal.
Ramdas Sankaran OAM