Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

Migration, citizenship and integration

I was in Hobart on Monday at the annual conference of FECCA – the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia. I gave a speech on the topic of citizenship and migration. The government is currently making much of their new citizenship test, a $125 million initiative supposedly aimed at improving integration of migrants and promoting ‘Australian values’. To me, the time when we can have most impact in encouraging and enabling integration is when people first arrive in Australia, not after they have been here for four years or more, which is when people now become eligible for citizenship (at least one year of that four year period has to have been as a permanent resident). Yet many people who first arrive here on long-term temporary residency visas are given virtually no formal settlement assistance at all.

The notion that forcing people to take a multiple choice test on a computer to obtain citizenship will somehow improve their ability and willingness to integrate with Australia is one which I have seen no evidence for. Making it harder for permanent residents to become citizens is not likely to improve their willingness to apply. There are one million non-citizen permanent residents in Australia. Many of these have lived here for decades. The majority of them come from either the UK or New Zealand, which suggest that it is this group that we are having the most trouble getting to fully integrate. People who come from non-English speaking backgrounds are amongst those who become citizens the quickest; those who are refugees quickest of all.

Twenty-five percent of Australians are overseas born. Modern Australia would not exist without the skills and efforts migrants, and our economy and services would collapse overnight if the hundreds of thousands of people who come here each year as skilled workers, students, holiday workers, refugees and spouses all stopped coming.

Despite this, the government is wasting $125 million trying to convince people that there is a problem with migrants. Now, according to a speech Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews gave to the Sydney Institute, the government is planning to introduce stricter rules in “assessing the capacity of visa applicants to settle in Australia.”

Factors taken into account in making an assessment include an applicant’s adaptability and resourcefulness, their knowledge of Australia and their expectations about living in Australia, their attitude towards learning English and their English language skills. Those visa applicants who are currently interviewed, such as applicants for humanitarian visas also will be assessed during the interview against the integration criterion.

Migrants’ attitudes will be assessed by specially trained officers of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

The Minister gave the opening address to the FECCA conference, but he waited until the next day when he was speaking to the Sydney Institute to make this announcement. He used lots of reasonable sounding language to surround it, but the core of it is once again to create suspicion about migrants, based on a ‘problem’ that is not defined and which no evidence is produced to demonstrate it exists.

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260 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. philip travers

    There is more than a sour note from me when it comes to another matter that simply remains unfair,dual citizenship.Having never travelled overseas or got married to anyone with this capability in place,I am bitter for what this actually means to me,if we continue to have governments like Howards.For this man,unable to retire gracefully,hasnt comprehended,as a citizen of this nation I am offended by his government more so everyday.Being in my fifties,and deciding again,not to vote,because nothing has dented his confidence,and until that happens wether he returns or not,I cant handle his confidence.The other matter is,if it is true,what you say Senator,well, the employment statistics are flawed beyond comprehension.And in a way that penalises me more than what I think you may not be able to comprehend.Because our economy ,therefore is false,so what advantage is there accept for those who will leave in that.? It is certainly true they bring all sorts of benefits,but Howard isnt doing anything but trying a psychological control on these people..at a cost of$125 million,and if I hear or read again Australians dont want to work., why work if those who get the jobs are going to be psychologically controlled,while the government rips money out of their pay!? AND SEEING AUSTRALIAN students are now competing with other students and all those other people unemployed etc. including non-citizens,then it is a false economy,so,dont be so sure Senator ,that it has lasting benefits!? As a matter of insight,rather than calculable reality,does anything really survive if it is increasingly dependent on a artificiality? I further cannot see how,if all they experience is rip-off that, that doesnt leave a permanent impression ..to follow.

  2. It saddens me that, through government policy and the messages it sends, that immigrants to our country are not going to be made welcome. It is these unnecessary social barriers that lead to segregation and social isolation. How can you ‘integrate’ into a society that is suspicious of you and hostile towards you?

  3. Marilyn

    And Andrews says he wants to encourage compassion for the underdog, the rule of law (cute considering Haneef)and other motherhood statements.

    He is as mad a zealot as Ruddock.

  4. MikeM

    There are one million non-citizen permanent residents in Australia. Many of these have lived here for decades. The majority of them come from either the UK or New Zealand, which suggest that it is this group that we are having the most trouble getting to fully integrate.

    Andrew, people in this category whom I have spoken to say they may see things differently if the Howard mob is tossed out in the forthcoming election and Australia’s governance and culture moves forward from the 1960s to the 21st century.

    Perhaps people from the UK and NZ are quicker to notice than those from elsewhere that, while there is much about Australia to enjoy and treasure, there are bits that are stuck in a very rusty time machine that functions worse than when it was first built.

    From http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22178133-601,00.html

    HIGH Court judge Michael Kirby has used a minority judgement today to lament that his colleagues are allowing governments too free a rein and allowing laws that might be misused in the future.

    A five to two majority of the the High Court today upheld the constitutional validity of an interim control order under the anti-terrorism laws made last year against Joseph Terence Thomas, also known as Jack Thomas…

    The outspoken liberal has questioned whether the present terrorism threat is exceptional and while political “rhetoric’’ may invoke a state of war, the courts have to make an objective judgement.

    Justice Kirby also laments that the tide of judicial opinion had turned so far in the past fifty years that laws banning the Communist Party which were quashed by the High Court in 1951 might be found to be valid today.

    If someone isn’t an Australian citizen, why would they want to swear allegience to this sort of nonsense?

  5. togret

    My husband is one of these, left over from when we were all British subjects. There was no need for him to be naturalised then, and I can’t talk him into it now because he has a philosophical objection to both the monarchy and the hilarious situation we see every time someon asks who really is the head of state of Australia. (Anyone seen the answer to this in the Citizenship Exam? I’d really like to know the answer.)

    Once we get a Prime Minister who cares about establishing a nation that knows who and what it is and removes the Union Jack from our flag, a lot of long-term Permanent Residents might well change their minds.

    If it were not for the weather I’d have half a mind to move to the UK – will think about it seriously if the Liberals are returned.

  6. Donna

    I’ll join you there in the UK togret.

    I seriously would love to depart if the Liberals get back in.

  7. CORAL

    People with dual citizenship sometimes receive 2 pensions. Is that fair?

    I’ve met people from the UK who don’t apply for citizenship because they think they’re too good for us mere colonials.

    Then there are the people who would be deported if their backgrounds were thoroughly investigated e.g. a certain white socio-paedo-sleaziopath we know who came here from NZ.

    I agree that encouraging people to apply for citizenship earlier would have multiple benefits, but I wouldn’t agree that there aren’t any problems with migrants.

    I agree with Phil on the matter of what constitutes “a lasting benefit”.

    I don’t see driving wages and standards of living down for the sole benefit of greedy employers to be a plus.

  8. geoff

    Blah, blah, blah… Howard… hate Howard, blah, blah, blah… howard’s fault. Interesting responses.

    “Despite this, the government is wasting $125 million trying to convince people that there is a problem with migrants.”

    Well there is a problem with migrants. Some migrants. I’m all for people coming here wishing to become Australian. To embrace OUR lifestyle and culture.

    I don’t think a test, will ensure this. But scrapping Multiculti, would certainly be a start.

  9. I’m not sure trying to scrap reality is a very good idea Geoff, much as some people would like to try. Although the government’s efforts to downgrade support for integrating migrants and pushing for neo-assimilation certainly isn’t going to help build a stronger nation.

    I agree there’s a problem with some migrants. There’s a problem with some Australian born people too. It sort of goes with having people around. How is a test going to fix either?

  10. geoff

    No need to play God and scrap reality Andrew. Just get rid of the policy of Multiculturalism. People who migrate here and want to become Australians should do precisely that.

    Why ask me about the test Andrew? I already clearly disagreed with it.

  11. Geoff says “People who migrate here and want to become Australians should do precisely that.”

    Given that Australia is multicultural and so are many Australians, how is “getting rid of the policy of multiculturalism” going to help migrants become Australians?

    Given that you seem to believe “becoming Australian” is a discernible set of personal qualities, rather than a matter of geographical residency, what do we do about people who are born here? How do we make sure they “become Australian”, and how do we know if they don’t?

  12. James

    So, Andrew, are you saying Australia is stuck with multiculturalism, even though it is evidently failing around the world? Shouldn’t someone be apologising for enforcing this ludicrous policy on the Australian people with no escape plan?

    “I agree there’s a problem with some migrants. There’s a problem with some Australian born people too. It sort of goes with having people around.”

    How very philosophical, Andrew. And complete BS, too. You can’t control who’s born in Australia, but you can control who enters here. Are you honestly suggesting that particular groups in Western Europe aren’t generating a disproportionate level of unrest? What’s your suggestion on how to stop it here?

    How about limiting migration to persons from western countries, or ignoring the demands of unelected ‘community leaders’. Isn’t your duty to act in the interests of Australians instead of agonising over the ‘feelings’ of foreign nationals? And I find it disturbing that you seem to be trivialising the notion of being Australian to “a matter of geographical residency”. It was that kind of simplistic, leftist thinking 20 years ago that has led to today’s crises in France, Holland, the UK etc. Notice that those who once endorsed multiculturalism are curiously absent from the ghettoes they inflicted on their own people.

    I’ve yet to see a single benefit of multiculturalism outside of exotic cuisine. Come on, Andrew, let’s have your top-ten of multicultural ‘benefits’.

  13. red crab

    the day when a ethnic group of ppl put australia first or any country that is giving them refuge or a beter life
    i.e.
    australian africans
    australian british
    australian chinese
    etc etc
    then and only then will multiculturism work
    but we all know that will never happen.
    but i have a more pressing question to anyone who will answer it.
    what is the govt gowing to do with all thease ppl they are bringing to australia to fill the so called skills shortage when it all falls apart.and we all know that it will eventualy.
    as ive sead before there is a much bigger challange to be faced than intergrating ppl who come here and its just starting .

  14. Geoff

    Yes james that’s so true.

    Well considering *a national culture* cannot be *many* national cultures. How can the Australian culture be Multicultural, ie many national cultures?

    Culture is not a geographical position.
    Nor does a certificate indicate cultural values.

    Since other nationalities can identify Australians, then perhaps people who disbelieve in the existence of an Australian culture, should ask them if we have distinct cultural traits.

  15. zen

    James,
    A homogeneous country/state is yet to be discovered.
    But I suspect people like you , of supreme race, would find nothing wrong with Australians settling in Hong Kong, Malaysia, running (very often dubious) businesses in Manila or Thailand, working in both Americas or Europe. I met Australians in China who have never even tried to learn Chinese, let alone ‘embrace their values’.

    Multicultural contribution to this country:
    (Non-Anglo-Saxon):

    -Snowy Mountain Scheme – still in operation
    -Canberra, Whyalla, Woomera – and plenty other Aboriginal names
    - boomerang (brings plenty of money)
    - doodgeridoo (as above)
    - Sydney Opera House
    - Mount Kosciuszko
    - South Yarra
    - Sydney Olympic Stadium
    - Strzelecki Treck
    - Handorff
    - Barrossa Valley
    - Polish Hill River
    - thongs
    - temples
    - Two American frigates are currently built in Adelaide by overseas trained specialists as Australia DOES NOT TRAIN NAVAL ENGINEERS.
    - First Bookshop (in Melbourne)
    - First Film School (in Sydney)
    - grapes
    - wines
    - birds’ wire
    - arts festivals
    - skiing
    .. just to name very few.
    Anglo-Saxons, on the other hand,by the virtue of their settlement, have built colonial architecture: government houses, prisons and detention centres. They brought sheep and rabbits.

  16. zen

    Sorry, I forgot to add that the Brits brought to Australia
    - language
    and the Westminster System

  17. James

    Zen, your argument is nonsense. You inject talk of ‘racial supremacy’ to turn any anti-multicultural argument into pro-Nazi ideology. How original.

    Thank you for showing us another failure of multiculturalism by reminding us that Australians’ fail to learn Chinese in China. I’ve often noticed that when diversity fanatics feel threatened they attack Anglo-Saxons to deflect flaws in their arguments. You seem to think that ‘deflating’ your opponents’ ego supports your position. Is that all you’ve got?

    As for your ‘list’, there’s barely a thing on it that has anything to do with multiculturalism. Other than indigenous culture or arts festivals, there’s not a single thing on it that was dependent on a ‘cultural diverse’ population. Not one. Oh, now I get it! You think that because people of different background name a mountain or build a stadium then that’s multiculturalism. Oh dear, poor Zen. So come on Zen, ‘please explain’ why ‘cultural diversity’ was essential in your list. See what it really does for societies:
    http://tinyurl.com/2c3858

    And by the way, you’ve proven that you see multiculturalism as harmful in your last paragraph. If you really thought multiculturalism was a good idea, the last place you’d want it would be in a predominantly Anglo-Saxon nation like Australia, which you clearly despise. Funny how everyone wants to live in Anglo countries, though. And it’s strange how the Left only want ‘cultural diversity’ in Anglo-Saxon countries. If it’s such a good thing, why not push for it in developing countries, instead of wasting it on undeserving WASPs? Come on, answers please….

  18. James

    As for Aussies living in Asian countries – well that’s that country’s business not mine. If I was living in, say, Japan, I’d respect that country’s traditions, I’d never claim welfare, I’d never tell them how to run their country, and if I was asked to leave, I’d go.

  19. togret

    Coral, if I worked in another country for, say 20 years and then came to Australia, I might eventually be eligible for a pension from the first country when I became older. If, in the meantime I was working in Australia for 20 years, does that mean I’m not, in your opinion, entitled to the aged pension if my assets and income met the Australian requirements?

    Can you explain the difference between that and someone who has saved money for 20 years and is old enough for the aged pension? If they meet the rules they can have the pension. There is no difference, just envy.

    Some of the comments here make me wonder if the writers know that since the First Fleet we have had people here from every continent … 12 African men on the First Fleet for example. Muslims arrived in the 1840s to work with camels, but there were Muslim visitors to our shores at least a century before Captain Cook bumped into the East Coast. They appear to have been able to marry into aboriginal groups and co-exist quite peacefully, travelling back and forth to the Celebes for trepang and leaving behind words, customs, family relationships and a few physical reminders of their presence.

    Probably most of us know of the Eureka Stockade, and its role in our achieving our current democratic government, but how many know of the multicultural aspects of that movement? Of the 101 miners officially counted at the Stockade, only four were Australian born. The 97 others hailed from across the world – Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, Corsica, Greece, Germany, Russia, Holland, France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, the United States, Canada and the West Indies.

    Have a look at your history if you weren’t taught that at school. Australia has always been a multicultural society – it hasn’t always suited those who try to brainwash us to say so.

  20. Geoff

    “Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, Corsica, Greece, Germany, Russia, Holland, France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, the United States, Canada and the West Indies.

    Have a look at your history if you weren’t taught that at school. Australia has always been a multicultural society – it hasn’t always suited those who try to brainwash us to say so.”

    Well actually the brainwashed are those that think there is no such thing as an Australian culture and as a people we are just a geographical anomaly, and that many national cultures are the Australian culture. Which by the way is a load of crap. Can you tell the difference between and Italian, a Scotsman and an American? A Russian and a West Indian? An Australian and a Japanese?

  21. red crab

    australia has been a multi cultural country since before cook there is no bout about that at all and all the ppl who have come here in the past have had a good impact on this county
    so why do we have some ppl in the govt and some ethnic groupes ramming the multicultural thing down our throughts if it not to get something from it for themselves.

  22. CORAL

    red crab:

    That’s exactly right. There are probably lots of agendas at play, not the least of which is driving wages down.

    togret:

    One person = one pension. That’s what’s fair.

    I had a lovely elderly friend from Fiji who received 2 pensions. The Fijian pension was much smaller, but the inequity created a lot of animosity with other elderly people.

  23. togret

    Coral: equity does not not mean “the same”. I had no idea you were a Marxist. Good on you for sticking with your beliefs, but I won’t debate them with you.

    Geoff .. national differences exist in all those populations you mention – every given Italian or Scot is not the same as everyone else from that country. Why do we have to all be the same? I’m more concerned about the pre-digested rubbish emanating from USA on our TVs and film screens than I am about decent people from all over the world who come here to make a new life for themselves, just as my ancestors did, and I suspect yours, too, Geoff. (Mine were Jewish, Swedish, German, Scots, English, Irish … and we are not at all sure where great-great-grandfather Charles came from.He wanted it to be a secret, that’s for sure.)

  24. CORAL

    togret:

    My ancestors all came from the UK – England, Scotland and Ireland. They became citizens. That’s what decent people do.

    They didn’t expect to receive 2 pensions, and they didn’t indulge in name-calling.

  25. As I mentioned in my post, the majority of long-term permanent residents in Australia who don’t bother becoming citizens are from either the UK or New Zealand.

    There is nothing unusual, or in my view inappropriate, about people getting pensions from two different countries. If people lived in a country long enough to qualify for a pension from that country, they should be entitled to receive it. Australia has many dual-pension agreements with different countries, which broadly means that each country agrees to still pay eligible people who reside in the other – in most cases with the country of residency then taking that income into account and reducing the amount of pension they pay.

    It is worth noting that one of the few countries that refuse to index their payments to ex-citizens now living in Australia, thus decreasing their real value and increasing the cost to Australia, is the UK.

  26. CORAL

    Thanks for that, Andrew.

    Perhaps the UK expects its ex-patriots who become Australian citizens to be fully supported here.

    I’m aware of a certain amount of animosity between Centrelink pensioners and DVA pensioners because the latter receive more money and services – but it is nothing compared with the friction between those who have always lived here and those receiving dual pensions.

    Even considering that one pension is income tested against the other, it still doesn’t seem fair to me.

  27. Geoff

    Really? Everyone is different Tog? Who’d a guessed.
    I do believe I keep mentioning NATIONAL in my posts.
    NATIONAL CULTURES…

    Gee I’m surprised you can distinguish an American.
    That means you recognise cultural differences that say to you American.
    Dear me… were you discriminating against them?
    tsk, tsk, tsk… How can you discriminate against the American culture?
    Aren’t all culture’s equal?
    After all you seem to want diversity, within a society.. it’s always such a good thing, right?

  28. togret

    Geoff- OK, please define “national cultures” because that’s what I was talking about – a general tendency you’ll find in most people within the borders of a country? You apparently see it differently.

    I probably didn’t make myself clear- what I object to is having imposed on us from USA their culture via their TV, movies, and most annoyingly their spelling.

    Andrew: I imagine those statistics come about because until 1948/9 there was no Citizenship Act – so the definition of “Australian citizen” did not really exist for British subjects for other dominions or the UK itself until then. In many instances we were still regarded as “British subjects” intil that was further clarified in 1969.

    When people like my husband arrived (in 1964) citizenship wasn’t an issue for him, there was no practical difference between British subjects like him and us native-borns. Since my ancestors started arriving in 1820 and the last one stepped off the boat in 1890, they didn’t have the opportunity to become Australian citizens either – there was no such thing in those days. Even my great-grandfather from Ireland would have been a British subject.

    When the rules about citizenship were changed again in the ’70s, my husband and many like him objected to suddenly having to swear allegiance to the Queen of England to regain what he’d always had. (He is a republican.) I suspect you’ll find many of the recalcitrants are Scots, Welsh and Irish. Those who come now have to undergo the same processes as a migrant from any other country, and eventually the anomalous permanent residents from Britain will die out.

  29. zen

    A friend of mine is from Germany. She is on a German pension as German pensions are much more generous than ours. She cannot take up Australian citizenship because Germany, like quite a number of countries, do not recognise dual citizenship. If she takes up Australian citizenship she will lose her German citizenship along with her hefty pension. But only last year she paid $10.000 in tax. Her pension is treated as an income. Australian pension practically equals unemployment benefit which is not fair, anyway. Our superannuation is still double taxed.

  30. CORAL

    Gee, zen, these things really need to be sorted out, don’t they?

    A pension is an income – no 2 ways about it.

    I agree that a person cannot live on an Australian pension. That’s why elderly people often live in tumbledown houses in need of extensive (and expensive) repairs.

    I live on a Disability Support Pension and am raising a child on my own. From
    1 July 2008, my pension will be taken into account in assessing child support.

    According to the available information, I think I will be required to pay one-quarter of the child support costs from my pension, despite the fact I do 100% of the parenting.

    My ex-husband and his new wife both have excellent incomes and no other children to support. Their child support costs will go down. I think he is currently able to put extra money into Super through Salary Sacrifice without paying tax on it – also depriving us of child support.

    I think the taxation system has changed for the worse in relation to welfare recipients also. We already pay GST on most goods and services.

    I guess we must be paying for the tax cuts John Howard gave to high income earners last year.

    Which begs the question: “Why would anyone want to come here???”

  31. Ralph

    This discussion has simply reaffirmed by belief that Australian citizenship has become absolutely meaningless. Multiculturalism has eroded what it means to be Australian, divesting Australian citizenship of its cultural base.

    For too long we here in Australia have been captivated by the cult of the migrant at the expense of our national culture, traditions and history. ‘Australianness’ can’t simply be everything to everybody.

    And yes, to all the militant multiculturalists, Australia does have its own unique culture. Much of Australia’s culture may be derived from its Anglo-Celtic roots, but it is distinctively Australian nonetheless. Australia’s founding population have been in this land for over 200 years. Generations of Australians collectively built this country – they didn’t just step off the boat from the British Isles yesterday.

    Mr. Bartlett seems to believe that being Australian is simply a “matter of geographical residency”. In that case, what defines, say, France? Its people and culture or simply lines on a map?

    Multiculturalism is a reality? So is cancer. Doesn’t mean we have to lie down and endure it. Just like cancer eats away at the body, multiculturalism is eating away our sense of nationhood. It has diluted our national identity and transformed us into a hodgepodge of hyphenated citizens with nothing in common. Perhaps common sense will prevail as the cure.

  32. togret

    Ralph, I just want to gently point out that many Australians of long-standing families (me, for example, with a convict great-great-something grandfather who arrived in 1820-ish) have quite a few ancestors who didn’t all come from the British Isles. Cultures evolve in directions pushed by many factors – the origin of the people is one, other changes in world events, technology, religious persuasions or lack of those, etc … to take a trivial example, men don’t usually wear felt hats nor women white gloves anymore. That’s partly fashion, but partly a cultural thing. I do htink we have special and unique little ways here, things I would not want to part with, such as egalitarianism being somethgin we value, but we all know it doesn’t just sit there on a list, we have to work at it, and currently, with people locked up on Nauru for being refugees, we are not doing uch about “fair go” being part of our culture. I’m more worried about that than I am Xmas carols or allowing other people to continue ot believe in some of the things their fathers and mothers believed in, back in the old country, like St Patrick’s Day, for example. How does it hurt Christians to acknowledge Rosh Hashana or Ramadan?

  33. muzzmonster

    James #12 agrees that there problems with Australian born people as well as those not born in Australia. It’s just as well we can discriminate about who comes into this country because they might cause problems.

    It’s unfortunate that we can’t deport our Australian born “problems” or turn them into Soylent Green.

    And despite the fact that it’s really naff to number the other benefits of multiculturalism (apart from cuisine) I’m providing:
    1. enriched music
    2. enriched art
    3. enriched literature
    4. enriched literature
    5. enriched engineering
    6. more investment opportunities – people are more likely to come here for holidays and investment if they see an open, tolerant nation.
    7. increased success at sports (any number of Socceroos)
    8. increased success at science (Gustav Nossal)
    9. new ideas about other people and how others live in the world
    10. new decorating ideas
    11. better relations with our international neighbours.

  34. Marilyn

    Ralph what rubbish, there were hundreds of tribes of aborigines here for centuries before we few white fellas arrived and took over.

    The only thing cancerous about our country is racism that rears its ugly head when we decided we don’t want “them”, whichever “them” it is this year.

  35. CORAL

    zen: post #30

    On further thought, I don’t think I can feel too sorry for a pensioner paying $10,000 in tax. Your friend must be on an excellent income.

    All:

    Here’s an interesting snippet. A sole parent living on a Disability Support Pension has a taxation threshold $3000 lower than an able-bodied person on Parenting Payment (Single).

    That’s a $450 tax bill for the disabled, while the able-bodied pay nothing.

    It’s time to complain, I think.

  36. Ralph

    “Ralph, I just want to gently point out that many Australians of long-standing families (me, for example, with a convict great-great-something grandfather who arrived in 1820-ish) have quite a few ancestors who didn’t all come from the British Isles.”

    And? My ancestry is German, but yet I have no problem in recognizing that people from the British Isles played the dominant role in building and shaping modern Australia. Australia owes its freedom, stability and prosperity to its British inheritance. A legacy worth celebrating in my opinion.

    In response to muzzmonster, most of the things you’ve listed are, in fact, benefits of European immigration to Australia, not benefits of multiculturalism.

    Honestly, how has multiculturalism culturally ‘enriched’ the average Aussie? Sure, one could bang on incessantly about how multiculturalism has segregated our capital cities and eroded Australia’s national identity, but what about the tangible benefits? Tell me muzz, what do you know about the teachings of Confucius? Or the Arabic alphabet? Care to tell us your thoughts on the Hindu caste system?

    I think you’ll find that the great thing about the current form of ideological multiculturalism practiced here in Australia is that it doesn’t involve knowing anything about other cultures – all it requires is feeling good about every culture other than our own.

    Whether the multiculturalists see it or not, Western civilization is superior to the rest. Just follow the one-way immigration traffic from the Third World into the West if you don’t believe me. There must be some redeeming features in the European Christian cultures of the West for people to vote with their feet on such an unprecedented scale.

  37. muzzmonster

    Surely Ralph, if your argument is correct, then everyone is wanting a totally western lifestyle and multiculturalism doesn’t exist at all?

    But what I’d like someone to explain if possible, is what these immigrants are doing (or not doing) that doesn’t fit in with Australian culture?

    Is it wearing the wrong clothes, eating strange foods, listening to unusual music, supporting the wrong football team (or even supporting the wrong code), or is it believing in the wrong god?

  38. ken

    none of those muzz its taking all the seats at the loacl shopping centre

  39. Ralph

    muzz, not all migrants are the same. Some migrant groups are extremely ethnocentric (even racist), and tend to shun assimilation into the wider community. Other groups, however, are eager to embrace Australia’s Western culture. It largely depends on the values and attitudes of the migrant. Culture plays a big role in shaping such values and attitudes.

    Unfortunately, the form of multiculturalism (read that balkanisation) practiced here in Australia is an obstacle to assimilation. It encourages migrants to retain their old cultures at the expense of Australia’s national culture. A truly inclusive society would assimilate its immigrants and not ghettoize them into “multicultural” enclaves.

  40. muzzmonster

    How does retaining their old culture hurt Australian culture? I still do not understand what distresses or offends people so much about new Australians.

  41. CORAL

    muzz:

    I largely agree with Ralph.

    Some Muslims, for example, think they can force THEIR culture on the rest of us – e.g. dictating what we should be able to eat at festivals etc.

    In my dance class, there are middle-aged, Australian-born Italians who dance almost solely with one another, even though the frequently stated etiquette (several times a night) is that they are meant to dance with everyone there.

    My teenage son says he doesn’t agree with multi-culturalism either. He has some similar ideas to Ralph about what is fair and what will create the least friction between various races.

    I think that certain races deliberately create their own enclaves to avoid assimilation.

    Those coming here from other countries are often more racist or “countryist” than anyone else. Even Pommies think they are too good for us “mere colonials”.

    My adopted Korean born niece has had a little boy at school calling her “China girl”, which she doesn’t like, so I told her to tell the teacher and, if necessary, dish some back to him.

  42. geoff

    Keep trying Ralph.

    “How does retaining their old culture hurt Australian culture? I still do not understand what distresses or offends people so much about new Australians. ”

    Another Nations culture is not the Australian culture Muzz. If you want to see or live as a Japanese go live in japan. If suddenly we all decided we prefer the japanese culture and adopted it overnight the Australian way of life and culture would be lost and we’d all be Japanese.

    one more time…

    http://www.convictcreations.com/
    http://www.convictcreations.com/culture/index.htm

  43. togret

    Ralph – what is good about Australia is worth keeping- yes. We have left behind quite a lot of the British class system that lives on back there even now. Not only there – my German ancestors came here to escape religous persecution,and they were glad to exchange their homeland for the lower level of intolerance they encountered here in those days. That didn’t mean that they didn’t recognise that they didnt have to become the same as their neighbours- our culture is a matter of negotiation among ourselves over times as to what is acceptable – not something carved on stone tablets in 1788 for heavens sake.

    We have in Australia better food, better weather, better opportunities for most of our population to become what they dream about. That’s great, and no, I would not like to live in Japan, or Greece, or Italy, or the Middle East, just to name some of the countries we get most of our current migrants from. I would say, though, that we could learn a lot from other cultures, such as their valuing of the elderly instead of putting them into homes as we enlighted Westerners so often do.

    I’m an Australian whose family has been here for many generations, but I’m not so foolish as to think that our culture here has always been the same as it is now, despite what you like to think. Australia was a leader about 100 years ago in social change, such as the secret ballot, universal sufferage, no state religion, free public education and much more. We had our stupid moments, though, like the White Australia policy. Thank goodness we have got over that one, and now recognise that we can learn from others, as they can learn from us.

  44. geoff

    If you really want to learn about another culture, then read and travel. Transforming ours or importing them here is unnecessary.

    As for a stagnant culture… no one has said or even implied that. As far as I’m concerned people ae welcome here to join us and become Australians, We want others to join us as Australians and change with us… not force change upon us, or be separate from us.

  45. togret

    Geoff, so who would you like to have as migrants to Australia? White folks? White folks and pale brown ones? White folks who believe in the same religon as you do? White folks and pale brown ones who vote the same way? If not, if you think what I’ve said is silly, then say what you actually mean. Who can come, and what must they do when they get here? You seem to be talking in code.

  46. muzzmonster

    I still don’t see Geoff how other people eating, dressing or believing differently hurts you.

    If I eat sushi, dress in clothes from another country, read books about India, and listen to Arabic music, does that offend you? If so, why? If not, why should other people doing it offend you?

    And I really don’t know any examples of new Australians forcing you to do anything. You are not forced to go to festivals. And if you choose to go, no-one is forcing you to do or eat anything there. It’s your choice.

    If you prefer to eat a snag on the barbie, all well and good, but it seems to me you now have the choice of a variety of other foods.

  47. Ralph

    Coral said: “I think that certain races deliberately create their own enclaves to avoid assimilation.”

    The problem with multiculturalism is that it assumes all ethnic groups share the same egalitarian values. They don’t. Chinese culture, for example, is one of the most ethnocentric cultures on the planet. For those of Chinese descent living abroad, the “mirror test” defines who they are. “Go look in the mirror” is the admonition of Chinese diaspora leaders. Paul Sheehan touched on the ethnocentric and downright racist attitudes of some members of the Chinese diaspora here in Australia in his book “Among the Barbarians”. Oh but I forgot, political correctness dictates that only Westerners (a self-extincting global minority) are capable of racism.

    To somebody like muzz, multiculturalism is a warm and fuzzy concept that involves colourful street festivals and different cooking styles. For some reason, the naive multiculturalists don’t look ahead to the time when the Western European culture that most of us would identify as the dominant mainstream culture of Australia has been reduced to merely another piece of an ethno-cultural patchwork quilt.

    World history is rife with examples of how nations have ripped themselves apart over ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences. Without Henry Parkes’ “crimson thread of kinship”, will mushy multiculturalism be enough to hold Australia together in the future? The real test for Australian national unity will arise in the years ahead as mass immigration radically transforms our nation’s demography.

    For centuries the Chinese used an ancient curse: ‘May you live in interesting times!’ If demography is destiny, then Australia is certainly in for interesting times ahead.

  48. Ralph

    “How does retaining their old culture hurt Australian culture? I still do not understand what distresses or offends people so much about new Australians. ”

    Why come to Australia in the first place if you’re not prepared to become Australian? And yes, becoming Australian means assimilating into the mainstream community. It means embracing our culture, learning our history and speaking English. If migrants have such an aversion to mainstream ‘Anglo-Celtic’ Australia, then don’t come to this country in this first place. After all, immigration to Australia is a privilege, not a right.

  49. CORAL

    togret:

    John Howard is forcing everyone out to work. Now the nursing home my mother lives in has fewer volunteers and visitors.

    We can’t look after the elderly in their own homes, our homes or help out in nursing homes when everyone is out working.

    But I will agree that people from some other cultures are far more family orientated.

    muzz:

    If the Muslims kick up enough fuss and get their own way – or more to the point, when there are more of them – we won’t be able to eat food from our own culture.

    Our culture will be crushed, along with non-Muslim religions and belief systems.

  50. muzzmonster

    It seems that you want people to step off the plane, live instantly in suburbia next door to yourself, speak English perfectly and support Collingwood or Balmain.

    No-one has explained exactly what migrants do that is so offensive apart from “not being Australian”. Migrants DO learn English, they DO try to learn about Australia and they DO try to fit in.

    Actually, Coral says what they will do and I really cannot comprehend how you can think that Muslims (which are a religious group – not an ethnic one) have that much control over anyone. England has a much higher level of Muslims living there and you can still buy pork pies in most pubs.

  51. togret

    Oh for heavens’ sake – I was at a Pakistani Mulim couple’s home the other week and we had that traditional Pakistani dish- Burritos!! It was a birthday party, and the cake was made by our hostess – a marble cake – her first marble cake, and very yum it was too. If some people got out a bit more they might find out that Muslims are human beings, 99% of whom just want to be happy, the same as you and me.

    If people looked at reality instead of listening to the puffery people like Pauline Hanson and John Howard come out with, they’d find out that embracing our new citizens instead of building walls is a more effective way to make our culture a more attractive proposition. My Pakistani friends are expecting a baby, and their hopes are for a peaceful life in our community for him/her, with the freedom to follow their own religion and speak one of their other languages at home if they want to. I support them in thier efforts to add value to our country – they are in the medical and accounting fields and are filling jobs no Australians could be found to do. I am grateful.

  52. geoff

    Sorry I’m late… Andrew’s blog’s rules…
    togret, it seems you are a racist. i have never mentioned colour or race… just culture. We are after all discussing the policy of Multiculture… not multi-races. I assume you know the difference. Culture is not race. I’m not a racist I don’t care where people come from or what they look like just that if they migrate here and wish to become Australians they adopt our culture, our way of life.

    I’m not offended by your cultural choices Muzz, you can be as “multicultural” as you wish. But in doing so you are not being australian… you yourself described your other cultural choices by Nationality. Don’t call yourself Australian if you are not exhibiting the Australian culture. Clearly YOU have said you were not.

    I don’t se why you don’t get it.

  53. Donna

    Geoff

    With a name like ‘Muzz’, how Australian can you get?

    So, if even Muzz can not call himself Australian, because he doesn’t get the ‘culture’, what then is *the* Australian culture?

  54. geoff

    Seems you missed the point Donna.

    I was addressing Muzz’s post. Have you not been reading them all?

    People can call themselves Australian, but unless they are Australian, they are lying. If it looks American, sounds American, acts American… etc, etc…. Unlike some I don’t believe that just being on the continent or holdig a certificate makes you any particular Nationality. You must embrace the culture and it’s values.

  55. togret

    Geoff, perhaps you’d like to point out what I said that was racist? I wasn’t in fact replying to you, but to the person who fears allowing Mulims into our cuntry will lead to us being forced to eat “their food” whatever that might be.

    I await with interest your explanation of what ‘the Australian culture’ might be, and how in detail it differs from that of the ordinary folk of other countries Oops, cultures ..

    You claim there is an Australian culture ?? define it, if you can.

  56. Ralph

    “I support them in thier efforts to add value to our country – they are in the medical and accounting fields and are filling jobs no Australians could be found to do. I am grateful.”

    That’s a fundamentally flawed argument. Australia’s chronic skills shortage is a self-inflicted wound. Since the Howard Government came to power, the number of Australian university places has failed to keep pace with recent boom in economic conditions, which has fuelled the demand for professional workers. Furthermore, high HECS debt and lack of student income support has acted as a disincentive for Australians to pursue a university education.

  57. CORAL

    I agree with Ralph and Geoff.

    The people I like least are those who are “racist” or “personist” against their own countrymen and women (or culture).

    There are definitely large numbers of people who want to come to Australia and change our culture to that of their country of origin.

    I, too, know people of various races and religions who have fitted in well, but I think some people are a bit naive about the broader ramifications of lots of issues, not just this one.

  58. muzzmonster

    Under Geoff’s definition, I can only imagine that there are very few “Australians” living in this country. I suspect a very large majority of the people living here do not fit into his narrow guidelines.

    Personally, I’ve always found it curious the number of Americans who call themselves Italian Americans or Irish Americans, or whatever, despite their families living there for more than 100 years. Does that make them any less American? I think not.

  59. zen

    Re: Coral #36
    I did not want you to feel sorry for a German pensioner; rather I would hope you might feel sorry for an Australian pensioner who will never get a proper pension. This is one of the so called “Australian values” I would never understand: why do we treat old people like a burden to the community or dump them into not so good nursing homes?

    Re: Ralph #49
    An Australian travelling with an American was trying to impress his fellow traveller by stating: “I am a four generation Australian!”. “Is that all?” asked the Yankie.

    Australia is only 200 years old and still too young to have a strong national identity which has never been put to test. Australia has never gone through a real conflict or, God forbid, wars or revolutions. We are still a very mixed fruit cake and still baking. There is no shame to accept other people’s values. In Australia, I find that the process is mutual: I learned a lot here while working as a…. teacher in an Australian education institution. Ancient Rome, Greece, the British Empire, the USA, Brazil etc all relied on other cultures and accepted foreign gods and traditions. Australia needs skilled people but has to import plenty of them because for some reasons the Aussies have been unable to educate the locals.
    According to the recent international report (The Australian 19/09/07) Australia has the lowest educational standards in the whole Western world. Perhaps it is the right time to think how to accept some education systems and methods not only from Ireland (one of the best at present) but also from Italy, France, Germany, Spain,Japan, India or China – all those countries have the high education standards on the top list of all priorities. Perhaps we can learn something from others and only then it would be much easier to discuss … parochial cultures.

  60. geoff

    One more time…

    http://cracker.com.au/viewthread.aspx?threadid=135611&categoryid=11281

    As for your claims re Education zen, I leave that for Mr Bartlett to address.

  61. Ralph

    zen,

    Australia is indeed suffering from a national identity crisis. But it has nothing to do with being “too young”. In reality, Australia has become more insecure about its national identity over the last several decades than ever before in the 106 years since federation.

    So, what’s the cause of this national identity crisis? I lay the blame largely at the feet of multiculturalism. By elevating ethnicity over nationality and emphasizing that which divides us rather than unites us, it has eroded our sense of shared nationhood. It has undermined our nation’s social cohesion and balkanised us into tribes.

    To be fair, Australia has never been too sure of its place in the world. We used to view ourselves as a ‘New Britannia’ in the South Pacific. Paul Keating tried to redefine Australia’s national identity by pushing anti-British republicanism and erroneously claiming that Australia was a part of Asia. But it is undoubtably multiculturalism which has done the most to throw our national identity into a state of utter confusion.

    “Ancient Rome, Greece, the British Empire, the USA, Brazil etc all relied on other cultures and accepted foreign gods and traditions.”

    I honestly hope you’re not a history teacher.

    Rome was in fact destroyed by the influx of alien cultures, religions and traditions. As the Roman Empire neared its end, it was inundated by aliens who felt no loyalty to Rome or its culture. A classic example of civilisational suicide.

    The British Empire and the United States were built upon Anglo-Protestant cultures.

    And as for Brazil, well it could best be described as a racially segregated society where a ruling clique of European-descended elites effectively rule over the African and indigenous populations.

  62. Ralph

    Zen: “Australia needs skilled people but has to import plenty of them because for some reasons the Aussies have been unable to educate the locals.”

    Not so much unable, but unwilling. Why bother training native-born Australians when you can simply import foreigners? Just another example of Australians being treated as second class citizens in their own country.

    According to Michael Duffy at the SMH, Australia’s mass importation of foreign professionals will have profound long-term consequences.

    He writes:

    Does it matter if, say by 2030, people of Asian background make up 10 per cent of the general population but several times that of those in elite jobs? Opinions would vary if people were asked, but they’re not. The nation is making this big change without any public discussion.

    What is certain, though, is that many young Australians have been excluded from university over the past decade, due to the failure to increase domestic university places in line with the growing population.

    Perhaps the reason there has been no public discussion of these changes (apart from fear of being called racist) is that those who contribute most to public debate have not yet been seriously affected by them.

    There are, after all, far less than 7 per cent Asian faces in Parliament, the media, and the humanities and social science faculties of our universities. And those of us in these circles who are parents are (relatively) smart and wealthy enough to help our kids get into university, with a bit of luck.

    It is interesting that the Prime Minister, once a critic of the rate of Asian immigration, is now presiding over what amounts to the demographic reconstruction of this country’s elite, at the expense of the children of those once known as Howard’s battlers. Strange behaviour from a self-declared conservative.

    link

  63. CORAL

    Ralph:

    I couldn’t agree more. The government is importing people and exporting work to Asians earning as little as 25 cents an hour – to destroy our way of life and drive wages down – so an elite wealthy few can control (first) the country, and then the world.

    Please don’t vote for the Greens.

    zen:

    You’re right about our education system – worst of all is Maths.

    My son attends what is arguably one of best state high schools in Queensland, and is in a Year 10 extension Maths class.

    He barely passed last week’s Maths exam, but still outperformed 85% of the other students, including all of those in his class.

    The way that Maths is taught these days makes simple concepts harder. There are also really serious issues with discipline and recruiting sufficient intelligent teachers for the harder subjects.

    The starting pay and disciplinary standards are both far too low.

  64. A lot of the comments have overlapped citizenship and culture, which shows how easily distorted the debate about citizenship can be (enthusiastically encouraged by the government of course).

    Under our laws (and to a large, although not totally clear, extent under our Constitution), being ‘Australian’ is defined by whether or not you are a citizen. The criteria for who is eligible for being a citizen is defined in the Citzenship Act (but not in any explicit way in the Constitution). It has nothing to do with culture or behaviour – except in regards to breaches of the law.

    Under Geoff’s definition of being Australian, there are many hundreds of thousands of people who are Australian citizens who would not be defined as Australia because they don’t behave in a way which fits his narrow, exclusive monocultural prescription. Likewise, there are just as many who would fit his description of being Australian who actually aren’t Australians, because their commitment to Australia is not sufficient for them to be bothered to take out citizenship even though many of them have lived here for decades. The majority of these are British or New Zealanders. Perversely, well over a hundred thousand of them can still vote to decide who governs Australia, even though they are not Australians themselves.

    The inclusive nature of multiculturalism encourages better social cohesion, compared to the tendency of monoculturalism which by definition excludes anyone who is different from what is insisted to be the ‘norm’, particularly when one’s country is demographically immensely diverse. To try to pervert the criteria for citizenship in a way which mitigates against social cohesion and inclusiveness is a dangerous step in my view, although on ots own it shouldn’t have a major impact in the face of simple reality, and the more open thinking and engagement which the modern world require

  65. Geoff

    “Under Geoff’s definition of being Australian, there are many hundreds of thousands of people who are Australian citizens who would not be defined as Australia because they don’t behave in a way which fits his narrow, exclusive monocultural prescription. ”

    It’s no narrower than any other Nation’s Andrew. Oh and yes Australian culture is a monoculture as is; Japanese, Greek, italian, etc, etc, etc… if looked at as a national culture. your point?

    “Likewise, there are just as many who would fit his description of being Australian who actually aren’t Australians, because their commitment to Australia is not sufficient for them to be bothered to take out citizenship even though many of them have lived here for decades.”

    Then they are NOT Australian are they Andrew?

    “The majority of these are British or New Zealanders. Perversely, well over a hundred thousand of them can still vote to decide who governs Australia, even though they are not Australians themselves.”

    So when are you going to change the laws to prevent this Senator?

    “The inclusive nature of multiculturalism encourages better social cohesion, compared to the tendency of monoculturalism”

    Oh I’m sorry. care to visit Lakemba and see how included you feel? Or any other ethnic enclave? Your diversity is divisive.

    “To try to pervert the criteria for citizenship in a way which mitigates against social cohesion and inclusiveness is a dangerous step in my view,”

    But Multivulturalism has perverted our society and culture and mitigates against social cohesion. only those in denial don’t recognise this.

    Oh and how about addressing zen’s “ignorant australians” comment? You know the education one… why have you ignored it?

  66. Geoff wrote:

    It’s no narrower than any other Nation’s Andrew. Oh and yes Australian culture is a monoculture as is; Japanese, Greek, italian, etc, etc, etc… if looked at as a national culture. your point?

    My point is that people are Australians under law, whether or not they have beliefs or behaviour that you like, and whether or not you can fit their appearances and views into whatever mytholgised cultural museum it is that makes you feel comfortable.

    I’ve visited Lakemba plenty of times. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, then don’t go there, but trying to make out that the people who live there aren’t Australians is hardly inclusive of them is it?

    Monoculturalism’s unachievable mantra of ‘Be just like us or you don’t belong’ is exclusionary by definition, and completely untenable in any society that wants to be modern, liberal and openly engage with the world.

    Oh and how about addressing zen’s “ignorant australians” comment? You know the education one… why have you ignored it?

    I haven’t addressed Zen’s comment because i didn’t feel like it. I don’t respond to every single comment that people leave here – got to leave some space for other people to comment too.

    As for non-Australians being able to vote, I think its well past time for this anomaly to be removed. Unfortunately, the Coalition controls the Senate and they’ve made it clear thay have no intention of supporting such a change.

    But by your definition of Australian-ness, these non-Australians are far more Australian than the real Australian citizens who won’t/can’t accord with your definition of how ‘real’ Australians behave. Mind you, it seems that Muzz isn’t a real Australian either, so it must be a rather narrow criteria.

  67. The Feral Abacus

    Anglophile Geoff said “We want others to join us as Australians and change with us not force change upon us, or be separate from us.” and Ralph said “Why come to Australia in the first place if you’re not prepared to become Australian?”

    Which is all rather odd. So while the Anglo-Saxon/Celtic invaders of 200-plus years ago were not required to absorb and adopt local culture and customs, anyone who follows in their footsteps is expected to conform with whatever practice dictated by the invaders’ descendants.

    What is it about the Georgian Anglo-Saxon-Celts that awards them such a profound exemption from Geoff and Ralph’s norms of cultural behaviour?

  68. CORAL

    Ditto to the non-Australian citizens getting a chance to vote when they shouldn’t.

    I support a Citizenship Test to encourage people to integrate into the society better.

    Geoff is entitled to his opinion. I think the critique of his beliefs has been a bit harsh. He makes some very valid points.

  69. Geoff

    It’s a shame when someone in a position like yourself tries to dumb down an argument. How are these people you describe as non-Australian more Australian than those that would be included in my “definition” Andrew?

    “My point is that people are Australians under law, whether or not they have beliefs or behaviour that you like, and whether or not you can fit their appearances and views into whatever mytholgised cultural museum it is that makes you feel comfortable.”

    Many Australians that behave in ways I don’t like or agree with Andrew. The Australian culture isn’t a myth and if you can’t recognize one I suggest you don’t stand for election to represent it. I’m comfortable in accepting our past and culture.

    “I’ve visited Lakemba plenty of times. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, then don’t go there, but trying to make out that the people who live there aren’t Australians is hardly inclusive of them is it?”

    Many there don’t see themselves as Australian. Hence they refer to themselves as Lebs. Many see our Australianess as an insult. Hence their choice to differentiate from it.

    “Monoculturalism’s unachievable mantra of ‘Be just like us or you don’t belong’ is exclusionary by definition, and completely untenable in any society that wants to be modern, liberal and openly engage with the world.”

    Rubbish. What do you think of Japan and it’s culture? Is it modern? Liberal? Open to the world? If not, what is wrong with it? No one expects individuals to be the same Andrew. Your logic sees every individual or group as being exclusionary. Yes if you are Australian you are not Greek. If you are Greek you are not Japanese. That is exclusionary… so what? Where are the negatives Andrew?

    Some Migrants, their children, still refer to themselves by their past nationality are they being exclusionary? They don’t consider themselves Australian. To live in Australia and be Australian requires one to INCLUDE oneself into our culture and society, not be separate

  70. It’s a shame when someone in a position like yourself tries to dumb down an argument.

    Well Geoff, you’ve demonstrated many times over that when it comes to discussions about migrants, no argument can be dumbed down far enough for you to be able (or willing) to comprehend it or even accurately acknowledge it.

    You can stay in denial if you wish – it is after all quite a strong trait within one strand of Australia’s multicultural society (which isn’t surprising, given it’s part of human nature). Wilful ignorance is often a more reassuring, comfortable and relaxed place to be, but it’s not something I’m into and I don’t think its healthy for politicians to promote it, so don’t expect me to start.

  71. Ralph

    Andrew, I appreciate you taking the time to weigh into this debate.

    “A lot of the comments have overlapped citizenship and culture, which shows how easily distorted the debate about citizenship can be (enthusiastically encouraged by the government of course).”

    There is no distortion.

    My argument was that citizenship becomes meaningless if divorced from national identity and culture. By denying citizenship its cultural content and ignoring associated unifying sentiments of affliation and affection for national heritage and traditions, the current watered down form of citizenship has hollowed out what it means to be an Australian. Australian citizenship has been reduced to a commitment to abstract principles which include everyone, but engage no one.

    Principles alone are not enough to unite and hold together a heterogeneous nation.

    To quote Mark Steyn: “The modern multicultural state is too watery a concept to bind huge numbers of immigrants to the land of their nominal citizenship.”

    Time we dumped divisive multiculturalism once and for all.

    “Monoculturalism’s unachievable mantra of ‘Be just like us or you don’t belong’ is exclusionary by definition, and completely untenable in any society that wants to be modern, liberal and openly engage with the world.”

    In that case, why is it that “monocultural” nations such as Japan, South Korea and Finland are by far the most vibrant, innovative and globally competitive societies in the world?

    Perhaps you’ve been listening to multiculturalist propaganda for too long.

    Speaking of the insuperable chasm between multiculturalist utopianism and reality:

    Diversity destroys communities – Part 1

    Part 2

  72. Ralph

    Re: The Feral Abacus #68

    What is odd is that you seem unable to distinguish between a continent and a nation-state.

    The modern nation of Australia was founded and built by people from the British Isles. They built the cities, towns, roads, railway lines and bridges, planted the crops and transformed arid scrub into the world’s food bowl, developed the economy and transplanted to this part of the world the democratic institutions and the freedoms prescribed in the Magna Carta that we take for granted today.

    The fact that we are communicating in a North Germanic language originating in England attests to the overwhelmingly predominant role such people played in this nation’s development. And last time I checked, their descendants still formed the bulk of the population.

    Now surely, in a democratic nation, Australians should be allowed to exercise the fundamental right to define and shape their own society. It seems hypocritical to profess belief in democracy, but deny people any democratic control over who should belong to them.

  73. Ralph, I think your assessment of South Korea, Japan and Finland is selective culturally and especially economically. It’s certainly not the fault of multiculturalism that the US economy is operating on such shaky foundations.

    You have also been incredibly selective in suggesting that Australia was “built by people from the British Isles”. Leaving aside debates about how much of it was built on stolen land and slave labour, and the unacknowledged role of non-British prior to the 1940s, the ‘British’ contribution has not been a majority one since the 1950s.

    In addition, democracy is not just about majority dominates and the minority has to cop it or bugger off. Democracy itself is about diversity – that’s one of the things that distinguishes it from totalitarianism. All Australians do have the right to “define and shape their society” – which means it shouldn’t only be left to those who ascribe to a definition of ‘Australian’ which is little more than a transplanted British offshoot.

    British people have not been a majority of Australia’s migration intake for decades. These days, less than one fifth of our intake of permanent migrants are British born.

    In addition, it is British and New Zealand born migrants who are least likely to take up Australian citizenship, which suggests they are least committed to fully embracing Australian culture and identity.

  74. Donna

    Ralph

    I’m not sure about South Korea, but Finland and Japan both have their Aboriginal populations. So they’re not monocultural countries.

    And that food bowl you’re talking about, and I assume you’re talking about the River Murray region, was largely developed by Italian families.

    Then you’ve got the wineries in South Australia, developed by Germans.

    I don’t think you’re being particularly accurate with you’re comments about Australia’s economy and who contributed towards it.

  75. James

    Andrew: “The inclusive nature of multiculturalism encourages better social cohesion, compared to the tendency of monoculturalism…”
    This is Newspeak at its worst. There is no evidence, anywhere, that multiculturalism leads to better cohesion – the complete opposite is blindingly self evident. Multiculturalism can turn previously stable, peaceful comunities into areas of ethnic tension. This is why we have countries in the first place. Multiculturalism itself is a form of exclusion – it takes a monocultural society and fragments it into lots of tiny monocultural societies. It is, by definition, the politics of ‘them and us’.

    Andrew: “You have also been incredibly selective in suggesting that Australia was “built by people from the British Isles”. Leaving aside debates about how much of it was built on stolen land and slave labour, and the unacknowledged role of non-British prior to the 1940s, the ‘British’ contribution has not been a majority one since the 1950s.”
    Selective, but also completely accurate. You talk about the 1950s as though everything good about Australia happened since then. Immigrants flocked to Australia because the British had already made the place worth living in. The early British settlers turned this huge, undeveloped country into a place the world envied and this fact makes you very bitter. If the land was stolen, then when are you planning on giving your quarter acre back? Why is it ok to further the land grab by encouraging more immigration?

    And why do you sneeringly write ‘British’ in quotation marks? Would you write about the ‘Aboriginal’ or ‘Lebanese’ contribution? Clearly you harbour a great deal of resentment towards our British heritage, as evidenced by your constant attacks on Brits.

    Andrew, show me a single report that proves the benefits of a multicultural society over an homogenous one. And then explain why Australia’s rich and powerful never seem to want to live in the most ‘diverse’ areas?

  76. What rubbish James – where have I attacked the ‘British’? It seems more like hyper-sensitivity on the part of you and others who can’t cope with any suggestion that Australia has been built by a diversity of people beyond just those of British heritage, or the reality that those of British heritage have been a minority (albeit sizeable) component of Australia’s highly diverse society for some time. Those of British heritage have contributed a lot, but so have plenty of other people from a wide variety of other backgrounds. This inability to acknowledge their essential contributions just portrays unnecessary insecurities, as well as displays a major blind spot in respect of our history, let alone our present day.

    I am sorry, monoculturalism by definition is ‘them’ and ‘us’ – segregation by another name. It is a simple demographic fact that our nation is made up of people from a wide range of cultures, ethnicities and religions. If you want to have a lot of separate monocultural enclaves within our nation, you keep promoting that, but I’d rather have a unified, dynamic, integrated nation. Multiculturalism breaks down divides by recognising that we are all ‘us’.

    It is ironic that you use Orwell’s term “newspeak”. 1984 provided a good example of what can happen why you try to enforce sameness and suppress diversity and difference – not my idea of a good way to enforce unifying sentiments of affiliation.

  77. James

    You attack the British by solely selecting them for criticism and questioning their commitment to embracing Australia. You still haven’t explained why you wrote ‘British’ in quotation marks.

    The ‘diversity’ of peoples that you claim built Australia is completely exaggerated. Besides, if that’s true then why are the early crimes committed against Indigeous people always solely blamed on whites? We never hear about the atrocities committed by ‘culturally diverse Australians’.

    “If you want to have a lot of separate monocultural enclaves within our nation, you keep promoting that, but I’d rather have a unified, dynamic, integrated nation. Multiculturalism breaks down divides by recognising that we are all ‘us’.”

    China, Japan and South Korea all unified, dynamic and integrated. Holland, France, Britain, USA, Fiji, aren’t. What’s the difference in their demographies? So multicuturalism “breaks down divides” does it? I thought “diversity” was our strength and all that, but now we want to ‘break it down’. Isn’t that doublethink? You can “rather have” whatever you like – doesn’t mean you’ll get it. Just because something deserves to be a good idea doesn’t mean it IS a good idea.

    I don’t promote monocultural enclaves – they happen all by themselves. It’s the sole reason we have different cultures, species, ecosystems etc. Why do you think we have different cultures in say, Ghana and Tiwi? What if we’d forced them to live together thousands of years ago? What sole reason gave Australia such a unique native culture and incredible flora and fauna? It’s the multiculturalists who have to keep ‘pressuring’ their unworkable theories with state-organised ‘diversity days’, usually involving coach loads of bewildered school children.

    You still haven’t shown me one single report that empirically proves the superiority of multiculturalism, or explained why Australia’s rich and powerful reject it. If this is your ‘success’, what would a failure look like?

  78. CORAL

    I agree with James, especially that multiculturalism CERTAINLY DOES NOT encourage better social cohesion.

    A Citizenship Test might improve this at least a little.

    There are also various anomalies regarding overseas pensions, which definitely mitigate against people wanting to become citizens (see zen’s post #30, and my post #22) – and also their acceptance by their fellow Australians due to financial inequities, when they do become citizens.

    The Aborigines formed comparatively small hunter/gatherer societies when white settlers first came here.

    No matter what our country of origin, humans don’t want our own cultures crushed – whether we are Aboriginal, European or anything else.

  79. Geoff

    Like I said, it’s a shame when someone in a position like yourself tries to dumb down an argument. Your ad hom attack in 71 also does nothing to help. IMO it describes you much more than it does me.

    As for your absurd claims about the British contribution vs non-British, that does your credibility no good whatsoever. As Ralph and James pointed out Britain has been the dominant factor in the development of our country, in fact even up to mid last century we were British subjects. Are you an Anglophobe?
    As for your strawman about ‘British’ contribution since the 1950’s, please, how disingenuous do you have to be to try and support your dubious beliefs?

    As for; “Democracy itself is about diversity” puhlease…
    .Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
    .A political or social unit that has such a government.
    .The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
    .Majority rule.
    .The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.
    Gee now where does that state anything about diversity? Certainly it doesn’t specify it in any manner you imply. IE; Ethnic diversity.

    “British people have not been a majority of Australia’s migration intake for decades.” So what? You suggesting we go back to a discriminatory immigration policy? Or are you just being disingenuous again?

  80. Geoff said:

    “British people have not been a majority of Australia’s migration intake for decades.” So what? You suggesting we go back to a discriminatory immigration policy? Or are you just being disingenuous again? 

    I leave the disingenousness to you Geoff – you’re the master at it. Same reason I leave the dumbing down to you. You can do the insults if you like, I just stick to the facts – this obviously frustrates you deeply, but I’m afraid I can’t help you with that.

    You and others are the ones insisting that all Australians should adopt a British-derived culture, not me. Why should people who have nothing to do with Britain have to adopt their culture? Most of my ethnic background is Irish, plus a bit of Greek and Swiss – the Brits spent a good chunk of their time oppressing/suppressing the Irish, both in Australia and at ‘home’, so I don’t see why I should be required to adopt their culture. In any case, what’s the uniquely special thing about Britishness that should be forced on all Australians which isn’t a part of many other cultures too? And what has it all got to do with citizenship anyway (apart from being ruled by the Queen, which the majority of Australians would rather do away with anyway)? As I keep repeating, citizenship is a legal construct – quite different from culture.

    Coral said:

    No matter what our country of origin, humans don’t want our own cultures crushed – whether we are Aboriginal, European or anything else. 

    I agree totally Coral. That’s why we should stand up against the attempts by monoculturalists to impose one narrow culture onto everybody else.

    James wrote:

    You attack the British by solely selecting them for criticism and questioning their commitment to embracing Australia.

    I wasn’t the one who brought up British culture or the furphy about the British building Australia. The British were the main colonisers of this land, which is very different from being the sole builders of our modern nation. All I have done is point out that British and New Zealand people are the most likely to live here for years without bothering to become citizens. That is a fact, not an attack (otherwise I presume you’d be accusing me of attacking New Zealanders too)

  81. Geoff

    “I leave the disingenousness to you Geoff – you’re the master at it. Same reason I leave the dumbing down to you. You can do the insults if you like, I just stick to the facts – this obviously frustrates you deeply, but I’m afraid I can’t help you with that.”

    What frustrates me Andrew is that anyone would consider voting for you. As for the ad hom… You… not I… have been indulging in it.

    “You and others are the ones insisting that all Australians should adopt a British-derived culture, not me.”

    Gee, could it be because the Australian culture IS a British derived one? I should have known you’d claim an Irish heritage. Born during the “troubles” were you? Or do you just consider hating a group that has done nothing bad to you personally is reasonable behaviour? I thought you were born in Australia. You seem to have some cultural baggage you need to divest yourself of.

    “As I keep repeating, citizenship is a legal construct – quite different from culture.”

    So in your view a person can be an Australian citizen, but not be Australian then?

    One more time for Andrew, who is in denial of the British contribution to Australian culture…
    http://www.convictcreations.com/
    http://www.convictcreations.com/culture/index.htm

  82. muzzmonster

    James, I’m not sure where you get your ideas about China and Japan? China is hardly integrated and unified. There are large numbers of people living there who do not consider themselves Chinese.

    Similarly Japan is discriminatory towards its own indigenous people. (I can’t say I know enough about South Korea)

    I think you’ll find people in all countries around the world oppose governments not because of anyone’s culture, but because they feel discriminated against and left out of the political process. Where people feel that they are free to get ahead and make a living for their children (which pretty much everyone wants), they tend not to bother others.

  83. togret

    On Friday night I went to the showing of a documentary film “Beyond belief” about a 2-day conference of non-Muslims and Muslims in Canberra last March. It was a fascinating film to watch, and most heartening to see that some people with prejudiced views learned a little bit by meeting those from another segment of our society and trying to exchange and understand points of view.

    This film has come about as part of a project by Dr Pamela Ryan, in conjunction with the Hawke Library (part of Uni of South Australia). I would recommend it as a snapshot of the attitudes (prejudiced and open-minded) of many Australians from all walks of life.

    Dr Ryan is doing a lot ot try to get discussions going on important issues in our society … a lot of the participants in this site might find it interesting too.

  84. Donna

    James

    ‘Besides, if that’s true then why are the early crimes committed against Indigenous people always solely blamed on whites? We never hear about the atrocities committed by ‘culturally diverse Australians’.

    That’s not true. It was Andrew who provided this link(http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=scholars&webpage=default&flexedit=&flex_password=&menu_label=&menuID=49&menubox=&scholar=43) to the research of Michael Rowland, who described in great detail the experiences of the Woppaburra people of Great Keppel, and their harrowing experiences of genocide, not just by *some* white settlers, but also including the hostility they experienced by Indigenous peoples of the Yeppoon region.

  85. Floss

    Interesting sites you link to there Geoff – I especially like the disclaimer:

    “Australia is a multicultural society of a diversity of values and beliefs. Basically, Australians don’t agree on anything. As a result, this site should just be taken as one of many different interpretations upon Australia. Nothing should be relied upon or taken as fact.”

  86. Geoff said:

    “So in your view a person can be an Australian citizen, but not be Australian then?”

    No, that’s the view you’ve been promoting Geoff – that only people who adopt (Y)OUR culture are Australians. You really should at least try to be consistent in your irrationality.

    “Andrew, who is in denial of the British contribution to Australian culture…”

    You really shouldn’t lie about what I’ve said Geoff, it’s not polite. I have not denied a British contribution, I have just stated the fact that it is only one contribution amongst many – that’s why we are a multicultural nation, not a monocultural one.

    And please don’t transplant your own prejudices and stereotypes on to me. I didn’t “claim” an Irish heritage, I just stated the simple fact that this is my main ethnic heritage, which also provided a fairly obvious example of why it’s silly to say Australian culture is British-derived, and why it’s absurd to suggest I should adopt a British culture if I want to be Australian.

    I don’t “hate” any group or nationality, I am simply pointing out a few very basic, well accepted historical facts. The fact that you don’t seem able to cope with anything other than fawning sycophancy to some idealised notion of British benevolence is not my problem, but it’s obviously not me who has the “cultural baggage.” I’m not the one who can’t recognise the cultural and demographic reality of my own country.

  87. zen

    Geoff
    I understand that some people would like all migrants to follow an Aussie/Ocker stereotype.
    I think it would be fascinating to see all migrants look like/talk like/behave like John Howard and Janet.

    Ralph
    I am not a history teacher but I was extremely lucky to get my education in continental Europe where history is a compulsory subject throughout the education.
    According to history teachers and professors: Gibbon, Ferrero, Huntington, Rostovtzeff and James Westfall Thompson from Chicago University -and they all agree- there were several important causes that led to the decline of the Roman Empire:
    1. Overtaxation and the destruction of the middle class (the destruction of the best)- since Caracalla
    2.The decline of the role of the Senat (Septimus Severus made the army superior to the Senate)
    3. Excessive fiscality of the government (avaricious State)
    4. land monopoly and unfair competition
    5. Hereditary crafts and low wages
    6. Christianity
    7. Expensive wars (with Persia, now Iran)
    8. Rome was an engineering empire. Once they stopped building infrastructure and maintaining it the process of decay started. (in the third century)
    Very weak empire was obviously an easy victim of raids and invasions.(Fifth century)
    Rome accepted most of Greek gods and brought more from the provinces (Heliogabal).
    As to Brazil ‘ran by a clique of European-descended elites ruling over African and indigenous population’ – well they are lucky as their white, ruling elite allows them not to use petrol in their cars.

  88. Ralph

    In response to the honourable Mr. Bartlett, I find it astonishing that somebody in your position is capable of such historical and cultural amnesia.

    My assertion that Australia was founded and built by people from the British Isles (which includes Ireland, by the way) is historically irrefragable. It’s obvious that you’re attempting to re-write Australia’s history in order to fit the multiculturalist narrative, but such Anglo denial is intellectually dishonest and ultimately self-destructive.

    Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner, Irene Moss, conceded in 1994 that:

    “Less than 50 years ago, Australia was very secure in its national identity, and had been so for some time. The population was homogenous, mainly Australian-born of Anglo-Saxon or Celtic stock. At the time of the Second World War only two per cent of Australia was of non-English speaking background”.

    link

    So much for the “Australia has always been multicultural” myth.

    Even today, Australia remains demographically the most British country in the world after the UK itself.

    The Anglophobes can gnash their teeth all they want, but Australia’s British heritage is entrenched in our nation’s culture, traditions and values, the forms of our institutions, and in the way in which we view the world. That inheritance may have come under assault by state-imposed multiculturalism in recent decades, but it was certainly not done in accordance with the wishes of the Australian mainstream.

    By the way Andrew, am I to believe that you subscribe to the idea of genetic determinism? After all, you’re using your Irish ancestry to justify your Anglophobia. Interestingly enough, this is common among multiculturalists. They seem intent on pigeonholing people into cultural groups based on one’s ancestry. If the multi cultis had their way, I’d be clad in a lederhose eating bratwurst in the Barossa!

  89. I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about Ralph, as I’m not an anglophobe. I’m also secure enough in both our national identity and my own that I don’t need to shelter behind a mythological monoculture. You can try to go backwards 50 years if you like, I’d rather Australia went forwards.

  90. Donna

    Ralph

    I think many British people could not resonate with your concept of ‘our’ culture. I think they’ve largely moved on from this imperial attitude of themselves that you so curiously adhere to.

  91. James

    Andrew Bartlett: You can try to go backwards 50 years if you like, I’d rather Australia went forwards.

    Communism was once supposed to be our inevitable ‘future’ too. Actually, I think you’re the one aiming for the past Andrew, although not the 1950s, more like the 1960s and 1970s when the ideologies behind anti-Westernism were being cooked up by radicals frustrated at the failure of socialism to spread. Multiculturalism has now been abandonded in Europe after decades of enforcement and the ‘useful idiots’ behind its conception are either dead or living well away from its consequences. Unfortunately no-one seems to know where to go next. Australia will soon follow.

    muzzmonster: James, I’m not sure where you get your ideas about China and Japan? China is hardly integrated and unified. There are large numbers of people living there who do not consider themselves Chinese.

    Similarly Japan is discriminatory towards its own indigenous people. (I can’t say I know enough about South Korea)

    Thank you for strengthening my arguments against multiculturalism with your comments.

    China and Japan DO have minorities, but they are largely ‘home grown’ and not a significant percentage of the population. When China and Japan have >30% of their population from India, Africa, Indonesia, Lebanon etc, do you think this will bring more ‘peace’ and ‘cohesion’?

    Donna: Ralph I think many British people could not resonate with your concept of ‘our’ culture. I think they’ve largely moved on from this imperial attitude of themselves that you so curiously adhere to.

    Then why aren’t they all heading for Australia’s ethnically ‘enriched’ areas, instead of fleeing from them?

  92. James

    Andrew, the anti-British tone in your comments is obvious to everyone here but you. You clearly derive a smug satisfaction from watching Australia’s British heritage disintegrate. You claim you’re just stating facts. Fine. But when you only state ‘facts’ about one particular group then it’s victimisation. You still won’t say why you wrote ‘British’ in quotation marks.

    Andrew: “In any case, what’s the uniquely special thing about Britishness that should be forced on all Australians which isn’t a part of many other cultures too?”

    Andrew, you’re the one forcing cultures on to people. Australians weren’t consulted on whether they wanted ‘multiculturalism’ or not – it was forced on them and continues to be forced on them. Ghettos form when a minority settles in an established community and gradually takes it over. The established community feels alienated and moves out. There’s no ‘diversity’, only displacement and resentment. You care not one iota for the Anglo communities of Australia who’ve watched their towns fragment and be diluted under the strain of mass non-European immigration. The descendents of the early settlers have been betrayed by a governent that abandoned its duty to preserve their way of life by inflicting an ideology they never asked for, and then telling them to ‘put up with it or shut up’ when they object.

    While an Anglo majority rules this country we can pretend that everything will be ok, but as soon as the balance of power fragments along the ethnic lines of umpteen hyphenated-Australian groups the place will fall apart. I’m curious to know what your solution will be when Islam becomes a stronger force in this country and starts to affect the rights of infidels, women, Jews and gays, as it’s already doing in Europe and Canada.

    Your banter about ‘diversity’ is patently rubbish, as you’ve admitted by failing to provide any study that demonstrates that multiculturalism is ‘best’.

  93. Geoff

    Geoff: “So in your view a person can be an Australian citizen, but not be Australian then?”

    Andrew: “No, that’s the view you’ve been promoting Geoff – that only people who adopt (Y)OUR culture are Australians. You really should at least try to be consistent in your irrationality.”

    But you said; “My point is that people are Australians under law, whether or not they have beliefs or behaviour that you like,”
    Well what I like is the Australian culture Andrew.

    Geoff: “Andrew, who is in denial of the British contribution to Australian culture…”

    Andrew: “You really shouldn’t lie about what I’ve said Geoff, it’s not polite. I have not denied a British contribution,”
    and
    “it’s silly to say Australian culture is British-derived,”

    Excuse me?

    So if it is not British derived (and it is you who steered it to specifically “British”), just what culture has had the primary influence on us? BTW, we were Briish subjects till mid last century.

    Andrew: “The fact that you don’t seem able to cope with anything other than fawning sycophancy to some idealised notion of British benevolence is not my problem, but it’s obviously not me who has the “cultural baggage.” I’m not the one who can’t recognise the cultural and demographic reality of my own country.”

    Well patently it seems you can’t. Please provide a quote where I have stated anything where I have supported the British culture over and above the Australian culture.
    You may keep obfuscating but it wont work.

    Then we have the silliness of zen’s argument: “I understand that some people would like all migrants to follow an Aussie/Ocker stereotype. I think it would be fascinating to see all migrants look like/talk like/behave like John Howard and Janet.”

    Ho hum… national culture zen not individual differences. I’m not like Kath and Kim or Crocodile Dundee or any of Chips Rafferty’s characters. All nationalities have stereotypes. The fact you recognise thenm shows you do identify aspects of Australian culture.

  94. muzzmonster

    I must confess I’m still bemused by Geoff’s “suggestion” that I’m not Australian. It seems to me that anyone that
    • eats pizza or pasta (Italian), sweet and sour pork (Chinese) or burritos (Mexican)
    • listens to Beethoven (German), Chopin (Polish), Debussy (French), or Mozaty (Austrian)
    • enjoys the Mona Lisa (painted by an Italian)
    • plays or watches basketball (American) or karate (Japanese)
    • uses Roman letters
    • arabic numerals
    • plays chess (Chinese or Indian, depending on who you believe)
    • watches fireworks (Chinese)
    • uses paper (Egyptian) or moveable type printing (Chinese then German)
    • used the words geyser (Icelandic), amok (Malay)

    are no more Australian than I am.

    I should probably add that we all know democracy derives from ancient Greece, Christianity from a Jewish sect in Judea, and philosophy from even further back.

    You really have nothing to fear. Whatever culture we live in, it has absorbed aspects of many others over the last 2000 years and we’re still going strong.

  95. Ralph

    Re: Donna #91

    Donna, might I suggest you re-read some of my earlier posts. Of course Australia’s culture has diverged from its British roots over time. Nobody is denying that. The debate here is between those who recognize this country’s British heritage as the fundamental ingredient in Australia’s development as a nation and those who disparage or outright deny the British connection.

    James very aptly hit the nail on the head in relation to multiculturalism and mass immigration. Rather than the migrant being expected to assimilate into the culture of his new nation, multiculturalism dictates that the host nation must bend over backwards to accommodate the alien culture of the newcomer.

    Not so long ago, mass immigration without assimilation would have been viewed as colonisation. Now it’s termed ‘diversity’ and ‘multiculturalism’, but the outcome remains the same. The host culture is diluted and displaced as non-assimilating migrant diasporic communities grow in strength.

    Andrew seems somewhat confused. He appears to have shifted away from the usual multi-culti mantra that Australia has no distinct national culture of its own. Rather, he is now conceding that, yes, Australia does have a unique national culture, but it’s definitely not predominantly British in origin. Yeah, just like the culture of Quebec is not rooted in the province’s French heritage.

    We hear alot about ‘cultural genocide’ these days and the inalienable right of non-Western peoples and nations to preserve their own cultures. But this right of cultural self-preservation at the national level doesn’t appear to extend to Westerners. If there is ‘cultural genocide’ occurring in Australia at present, it’s the erosion of Australia’s Anglo-Celtic cultural inheritance.

    Imagine the outcry if Mr. Bartlett was quoted as telling an Australian of Aboriginal ancestry: “You can try to go backwards 219 years if you like, I’d rather Australia went forwards.”

  96. CORAL

    I think plenty of Brits still have imperial attitudes. That’s why they don’t become citizens.

    muzz:

    I think we are living in an undemocratic secular society which is headed towards global capitalistic communism.

    It is easier to move in that direction when you mix up your races and cultures – combining the wages and living conditions (including diet) of the two-thirds world with those of the developed nations.

    We’ve already had Peter Beattie driving us in that direction by pretending his recommended low protein “peasant diet” will improve our health.

    The more zealous Greens are driving us in that direction as well – trying to knock out our livestock industries, for example.

    I’ve sometimes noticed posters referring to “the third world”. That term was replaced by “the two-thirds world” many years ago.

    I think there’s a significant difference between enjoying the cultural aspects you have quite rightly mentioned, and having people from the two-thirds world coming here, taking our jobs and driving wages down, so that all we can afford to eat is the “peasant diet”.

  97. muzzmonster

    Why do some people assume that because I (and others) appreciate aspects of many cultures that we have some hatred for British culture?

    How could I possibly hate a culture that gave us/me the Westminster system of government, cricket football and rugby (though I love beating the Poms at them), the fabulous English language (even if it’s an appropriation of many others), an profound history of scientific inquiry, the Beatles, the Who and the Clash, as well as many other things.

    Of course, British culture, like all others, isn’t perfect. But we all muddle along together, learn from each other, and seem to be coming out reasonably well.

  98. Donna

    James

    ‘Then why aren’t they all heading for Australia’s ethnically ‘enriched’ areas, instead of fleeing from them?’

    Well James, they are not exactly fleeing. Significant numbers are still arriving. Look at the following link if you don’t believe me:

    http://www.citizenship.gov.au/resources/facts-and-stats/stats.htm

    Ralph

    ‘The debate here is between those who recognize this country’s British heritage as the fundamental ingredient in Australia’s development as a nation and those who disparage or outright deny the British connection.’

    I’d suggest you re-read the posts of what those who disagree with you are writing, and what the likes of yourself, James, and Geoff are writing. No one had denied or disparaged our British heritage. What I’m reading is posters who are arguing for monoculturalism, and in their arguments, coming up with some incorrect statements.

    If posters are going to argue for a point of view, and they have every right to do so, then at least back that up with facts, not fallacies. Further, don’t claim posters are saying things they’re not saying.

  99. zen

    England has a fascinating history. One of the most invaded countries in human history: Celts, Picts from the North, Vikings, Norsemen/Danes, Saxons, Romans, French and now international corporates.
    Under the Romans, Latin was official language in England – along with many vernacular languages and dialects – usually a mixture of Saxon,Celtic/Gaelic and Swedish.
    From the Norman Conquest in 1066 up to the 14th century French language was the official language of England. It was actually the French barons who inspired Magna Carta.
    English pirates fighting successfully Spanish and other pirates brought all the goodies to mother England: tea, potatoes and tobacco.
    None of the five German kings of England spoke any English.

    At present, people of the United Kingdom speak English, Welsh, Scottish and Gaelic. Brits living on the Channel Islands speak French. Inhabitants of i.e. Orkney Islands speak a mixture of Scottish and Viking/Norwegian.

    The late Lady Diana was the first true-blue British-English Princess.

    During all those turbulent years and centuries the British race has created the England of today. Due to perseverance, flexibility, population mix and a mixture of all possible vices and virtues, cruelty and empathy, the country has managed to survive and having built both the Tower of London and the Houses of Parliament England has developed what we call now a “British heritage’.

    But it was Lord Chesterton who once stated; ‘If you do not respect other cultures you will never respect your own’.

    However, in the world of free flowing capital, national cultures (at least in the simplest sense) do not exist.

  100. ken

    Unfortunately the major protagonists on this thread, both for and against, are essentially arguing from predetermined and inflexible positions, (apart from the zen’s last contribution whihc is very good), without ewven listening to other points of view.

    Hence its a bit of a waste of time

  101. Geoff

    floss… I couldn’t find your site disclaimer… but then I went to the email and feed back section and there it was. Not a site disclaimer at all and pretty contradictory to the site intro.

    excerpts of which …

    “There are many Australians who say that Australia has no national identity, and does not need one. In fact, in the 70s Whitlam Minister Al Grassy declared that even something as simple as identifying one’s ancestors as Australian on a census form was a sign of racial supremacist attitudes.”

    and

    “For left-wing wowsers, the Convict stigma seems to inspire an obsession with importing foreign cultures, or championing Aboriginal cultures, so that the stain can be washed away. Such people would look at the above comments and criticise them as inaccurate stereotypes in modern day multicultural Australia and/or irrelevant to Aborigines.”

    So because you tried to make a big deal of it and call it something it wasn’t, I asked Chad why it was there in the email and feedback section.

    I had a fair idea myself and he basically backed that up and said because he didn’t want to waste his time replying and arguing with people who share your pov… seems it worked eh.

    Donna anytime I post something incorrect you just point it out. Oh BTW, I’m still waiting. Oh and BTW as Ralph has pointed out we have an Australian culture not British one.

    Muzz#95… you still seem confused not bemused. Interesting that you point to items you associate with other nationalities yet cannot point to a single Australian one.

    I have posted links for people like you.

  102. Ralph

    Donna

    “No one had denied or disparaged our British heritage. What I’m reading is posters who are arguing for monoculturalism, and in their arguments, coming up with some incorrect statements.”

    By downplaying the primacy of our British inheritance in shaping Australian nationhood, Andrew is indeed guilty of denying the full extent of the British contribution.

    Andrew claimed that it was “silly to say Australian culture is British-derived” and that Australia’s British inheritance was “only one contribution amongst many.”

    This is utter nonsense. The British contribution is not merely another little piece of a ‘multi-culti mosiac’ alongside the Vietnamese or Baltic contributions. The fact is that Australia owes its very existence to the British. And our culture, although uniquely Australian, is largely rooted in our British heritage.

    Arguing for ‘monoculturalism’? Oh, if you by any chance mean the natural state of affairs where migrant groups assimilate into the culture of their host nation, then yes, I am arguing in favour of uniculturalism.

    “If posters are going to argue for a point of view, and they have every right to do so, then at least back that up with facts, not fallacies. Further, don’t claim posters are saying things they’re not saying.”

    Your comments are as laughable as they are condescending. Facts have never bothered the multi-cultis before. Why start demanding them now?

    As James noted, Andrew has failed to provide one single report that empirically proves the superiority of his ideology. The last major academic study on multiculturalism, performed mainly in the U.S. by Harvard sociologist Dr. Robert Putnam, found that is is indeed divisive. It destroys trust and reduces social capital between ethnic groups. But most people have been awake to the socially destructive nature of multiculturalism for some time.

  103. Donna

    I’m beginning to think Geoff, Ralph and James, that you’re mates from some KKK style club, and have made it your personal missions in life to undermine any support for a socially coherent society that values inclusivity.

    Geoff

    If I’m responding to James about his factual errors, then that’s who I’m responding to. I’ll respond to your factual errors if I come across them, and if I decide I feel like it.

    Ralph

    Dr Robert Putnam … do you have a link?

    I came across this link:

    http://www.lgaq.asn.au/LGOnline/includes/printthispage.jsp?path=/lgaq/newsReleases/2001/2001_9_12_003.html&banner=1&circular=0&publish

    I wonder if Dr Putnam would be happy with your[mis]representation of his research. I somehow doubt it.

    Another factual error?

  104. James

    Donna at #99
    James
    ‘Then why aren’t they all heading for Australia’s ethnically ‘enriched’ areas, instead of fleeing from them?’

    Well James, they are not exactly fleeing.

    Significant numbers are still arriving. Look at the following link if you don’t believe me:

    http://www.citizenship.gov.au/resources/facts-and-stats/stats.htm

    …If posters are going to argue for a point of view, and they have every right to do so, then at least back that up with facts, not fallacies.

    Is making a complete fool of yourself something you do for fun? I was clearly referring to the way people of British descent (and other groups) are fleeing Australia’s most ‘enriched’ areas (ie expanding ethnic ghettos). I did NOT say they were fleeing Australia altogether. In fact, Australia is often seen by the British as an escape from the effects of their own multiculti. And if you’re into ‘facts and figures’ for supporting arguments, then show me where people are naturally gravitating towards ethnic groups completely different to their own, or explain why schools in the USA are even more segregated than they were 10 years ago. You won’t, of course, because no evidence exists to prove multiculturalism is successful anywhere.

    muzzmonster at #95:
    “I must confess I’m still bemused by Geoff’s “suggestion” that I’m not Australian. It seems to me that anyone that eats pizza or pasta (Italian), sweet and sour pork (Chinese) or burritos (Mexican)…

    One of the good things about mostly homogenous countries is that they can copy the best bits of foreign cultures and ditch the bad bits. Just think, those lucky old Japanese can use arabic numerals whenever they like without enduring month-long race riots in their capital city or being blown up on their way to work. They can learn to cook curry if they like or they can listen to Elvis if they like. If they grow tired of doing those things they can just stop. Aren’t they lucky.

  105. James

    Donna, the report you’ve shown to has nothing to do with report Ralph was referring to. Is public humiliation something you enjoy?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Putnam

    “Putnam describes people of all races, sex and ages as “hunkering down” and going into their shells like a turtle. For example, he did find any significant difference between 90 year olds and 30 year olds.

    Low trust with high diversity not only affects ethnic groups, but is also associated with:

    * Lower confidence in local government, local leaders and the local news media.
    * Lower political efficacy – that is, confidence in one’s own influence.
    * Lower frequency of registering to vote, but more interest and knowledge about politics and more participation in protest marches and social reform groups.
    * Less expectation that others will cooperate to solve dilemmas of collective action (e.g., voluntary conservation to ease a water or energy shortage).
    * Less likelihood of working on a community project.
    * Less likelihood of giving to charity or volunteering.
    * Fewer close friends and confidants.
    * Less happiness and lower perceived quality of life.
    * More time spent watching television and more agreement that “television is my most important form of entertainment”.”

    Notice how liberal, leftist academic Putnam hid his findings for nearly 6 years while he tried to account for his non-PC results. He couldn’t, so instead he offered some patronising platitudes about it ‘working given enough time’. He doesn’t mention the misery it causes during the ‘bonding’ years or how immigration is a continual process in the West so we’re never going to ‘catch up’ and all get along.

    Donna: I’m beginning to think Geoff, Ralph and James, that you’re mates from some KKK style club,
    Thank you for pulling out the ‘KKK stuff’ – it’s always a sure sign the Left are running out of arguments.

  106. Donna

    James

    The link I’ve given was the one I told you I came up with, and I asked you to give a link to a source.

    What you’ve provided is a Wikepedia link as a source? Do you know what a credible source is?

  107. geoff

    I think that last comment was a nod to denial James. Yes Donna’s little “KKK” slip is certainly educative on how progessives think. One wonders if they know the difference between a racial issue and a cultural one.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22482184-7583,00.html

    “Australian sociologist Katharine Betts and demographer Bob Birrell provide an excellent discussion of the changing approach to citizenship since the Whitlam government in 1973 in the March issue of People & Place. What they show is that under successive Labor governments the value of citizenship was reduced to little better than a certificate you could pull out of a corn flakes packet.

    They note two very different concepts of citizenship, which they label the procedural position and the patriotic view.

    The procedural view holds that migrants should have no other commitment to Australia beyond respect for the law and rights of others.

    The patriotic position, which surveys show is held by a clear majority of Australians, attaches a strong value to citizenship as a national bond and expects immigrants to live like Australians. This is the position the Howard Government has moved to in recent years.”

    “In the Labor years it was the role of cosmopolitan elites to keep ordinary, red-necked Australians and their inherent racism on the straight and narrow. It was an era of stifling political correctness, where critics were howled down with cries of racist by the cosmopolitan internationalist elites of the progressive Left.

    It was also an era of corrupt immigration policies, with family stream migration rorted to provide branch-stacking fodder.

    It was a time when ordinary Australians had the cosmopolitans’ virulent multiculturalism shoved down their throats, with the result that support for immigration plummeted. This is no right-wing Liberal fantasy.”

  108. Once it starts getting into slinging around stereotypes about ‘teh Left’ and ‘progressives’, any hope of rational debate is long gone, leaving me inclined to agree with Ken.

    The core aspects of mainstream multiculturalism in Australia were developed and entrenched by Liberal governments, and even in today’s hardline authoritarian conservative version of a ‘Liberal’ Party, there are some who promote and support it. Whereas monoculturalists like James seriously hold up communist China as a positive example! Try telling the Tibertans, Muslims, Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, etc

    The most obvious ‘report’ in favour of multiculturalism is modern Australia, which has been built on and flourished on it. Society, economy and environment are interlinked – people who think we can go back to some pre-1950s imposed monoculture are deluding themselves if they think we can do it without damaging our economy, let alone the social consequences of the Chinese style authoritarianism so lauded by James which we would need to adopt to be able to do it.

    as usually happens in these ‘debates’, people who clearly have no idea of what multiculturalism is, and only know that it is not some mythological lost quasi-British ‘culture’ of a bygone era, spend their time building every bigger straw men to light ever bigger bonfires of ignorance and prejduice.

    There are way too many examples to point to from the above comments, and I have neither the time ot interest to demolish them all – but one bizarre misrepresentation from the many, was Ralph’s

    Imagine the outcry if Mr. Bartlett was quoted as telling an Australian of Aboriginal ancestry: “You can try to go backwards 219 years if you like, I’d rather Australia went forwards.”

    Why would any Aboriginal person be arguing to go backwards 219 years and why would there be an outcry if I said something like that? I have made similar statements, although not in response to Indigenous people.

  109. geoff

    Well gee Andrew How will any change back to integration or assimilation adversley effect our economy?
    Why does a scrapping of Multicultural policy lead automaticly to a chinese style autoritarian society? We never had it before.

    No one here is arguing for a British Australia Andrew, we are just acknowledging (unlike yourself) the reality of our history and culture.

    I await your enlightened response. (Unforunately you’ll have to wait till tomorrow for mine).

  110. You can wait all your like Geoff. As I said, I have better things to do that go round in circles when you are clearly incapable or uninterested in listening to what I or others are saying. I see no point in adding more comments – you already have more than enough there you can keep misrepresenting to your hearts content.

    I wasn’t the one holding up China as a model of a modern dynamic monocultural society, that was one of your fellow travellers. Imposing a single state-sanctioned culture on a hugely diverse, interconnected and international engaged society with liberal democratic foundations would be rather difficult to do without being authoritarian.

  111. ken

    Now there’s a worry – Andrew agreeing with me…

    I think the “heat” on this issue is basically driven by fear of change & fear of difference, at least I hope so, as anyone seriously trying to establish a monocultural view of the world is either a) ignorant of 1000’s of years of history &/or b) seriously nasty & I suspect immature – Geoff what’s your excuse.

    Of course the basic foundation of modern Australia was the colonisation & importation of the values & system’s of the British Isles. Of course there were other contributors but not the main game. That was then – I’m not sure why it appears so hard for the Pro side to simply say so..

    Of course in earlier times, & more obviously post 1950’s massive other cultural influences have shaped modern Australia – not only pizza & wine (nice as they are but frivolous to the debate) but more importantly the simple make-up & structure of society. People didn’t come here value free so it’s obvious that their values & culture have contributed to the whole. A system is made up of the sum of its parts.

    Of course there will be problems, some people do gather in enclaves & seem hostile, parts of our political process have pandered to this for reasons of patronage & influence & this has caused some of the resentment we see today. But it’s only minor & while it is unsettling at times to walk through Lakemba, its equally unsettling to walk around George Street on a Saturday night, some things in life are unsettling.

    Talking to people about how we can contribute to a functioning society seems to me a lot more beneficial than trying to find ways not to or to exclude people, (apart from that we need them). – why can’t the anti people see this. Equally I don’t think, open slather tolerance is acceptable. It is not a bad thing to express standards & values expected from people living in our society – our laws claim to do this but are not effective either from an enforcement or content point of view in my view.

  112. Ralph

    “… but one bizarre misrepresentation from the many, was Ralph’s”

    Andrew, you asserted that those of us who recognize and celebrate the predominately British-derived culture of mainstream Australia are living in the past. According to you, we are anachronisms from a bygone era and out of touch with the realities of modern ‘multicultural’ Australia.

    Of course, this is all wildly amusing coming from the former leader of a lunatic-left fringe party which is facing electoral annihilation. And why is that Andrew?

    To quote Janet Albrechtsen: “So, with a bare smattering of votes coming their way, the Dems resemble a failed comic when they presume to know about what reflects modern Australia.”

    Now back to my ‘bizarre misrepresentation’. As James noted, your antipathy towards Australia’s British cultural heritage is palpable, especially when one takes cognizance of your enthusiastic barracking for the demise of ‘quasi-British’ Australia under the weight of multiculturalism and mass immigration.

    Tell me Andrew, why is it laudable for Indigenous Australians to celebrate and preserve their ‘monocultures’, but regressive for mainstream Anglo-Celtic Australia to do the same?

    “I have neither the time ot interest to demolish them all..”

    Honestly Andrew, the only thing that has been demolished during this debate is your credibility. Multiculturalism is an intellectually bankrupt ideology. It has caused division, disharmony and displacement in every country in which it was adopted. The exodus of native Dutch, for example, fleeing the multicultural ‘enrichment’ of their country is nothing short of cultural genocide. What is the moral imperative for their historic culture be eradicated from its homeland? What should Westerners be prepared to accept this form of reverse colonialism?

  113. Ralph

    Donna,

    I posted a couple of links before under the title “Diversity destroys communities”.

    Nevertheless, here is a summary of Putnam’s findings by The Australian:

    Ethnic diversity ‘breeds mistrust’

    Rather than lecture other people, perhaps you should try to get your own facts straight to avoid making a fool out of yourself yet again.

    “I’m beginning to think Geoff, Ralph and James, that you’re mates from some KKK style club…”

    Absolutely pathetic.

  114. Donna

    Ralph

    Again, you have given me a link to ‘The Australian’, not a report by Putnam.

    Can you provide a link for me so that I can read Putnam’s *voice*, not someone’s interpretation based on their own agenda.

  115. I hate to tell you this Ken, but I agree with you heaps of times – I just don’t mention it often cos it might upset you.

    As Ralph identified with forensic logic and incisive wit, I am “the former leader of a lunatic-left fringe party”, so I know you’d hate to be in that sort of company. With that combination of name calling skills and political nous which would do a five year old proud, it does at least show why Ralph’s ‘arguments’ have tended to only coincidently intersect with reality.

    A final reply to one last question before I go do something more useful – Ralph asked

    “Tell me Andrew, why is it laudable for Indigenous Australians to celebrate and preserve their ‘monocultures’, but regressive for mainstream Anglo-Celtic Australia to do the same?”

    I don’t have a problem with Anglo-Celtic Australians preserving their cultures (although I think “maintaining” is a better word than “preserve” which does conjure up putting things in jam jars and hoping they’ll stay the same forever). I have never said it this is ‘regressive’, you are just imposing your pre-determined stereotype of what you have already decided I believe, whilst ignoring the evidence of what I’ve said and done.

    It would be strange for me to be against Australians of Anglo or Celtic background maintaining their cultural heritage, as its part of my cultural heritage which I quite openly acknowledge and maintain. It’s just unreasonable and unachievable to impose it on everybody else in Australia, so I don’t insist that it should have primacy over everyone else or that it is the only thing that contributed to the foundation of modern Australian culture.

    I believe it is very important to Australia as a whole that Indigenous cultures are maintained, but that doesn’t mean everyone living here should have those Indigenous cultures imposed on them and have to live as Indigenous Australians. Nor should people who aren’t Anglo or Celtic have to take on such cultures (although they can if they want to)

  116. geoff

    Actually for my part there’s been no “heat” at all Ken, no ‘fear’, just measured debate. It’s a pity some refuse toacknowledge fact or answer questions though. One would think a public servant would feel obligated to answer questions from those that pay him. Sometimes obfuscation is the better part of valour though eh? Oh and Ken… I’m not ignorant, immature or nasty. I leave that and narky and for others.

    “Of course the basic foundation of modern Australia was the colonisation & importation of the values & system’s of the British….. I’m not sure why it appears so hard for the Pro side to simply say so.”
    I totally agree.

    “Of course in earlier times, & more obviously post 1950’s massive other cultural influences have shaped modern Australia – not only pizza & wine (nice as they are but frivolous to the debate) but more importantly the simple make-up & structure of society. People didn’t come here value free so it’s obvious that their values & culture have contributed to the whole. A system is made up of the sum of its parts.”

    Yet when asked Multiculturalists almost exclusively cite food. So what structural changes to our society did these immigrants values and culture create Ken? Laws? Government? Language?

    It seems that those who hold western values have fitted in nicely. That’s assimilation. In fact that was the policy in the 50′s and earlier, followed by Integration. Multiculti was foisted upon us in the 70′s. The results speak for themselves.

    “Of course there will be problems, some people do gather in enclaves & seem hostile, parts of our political process have pandered to this for reasons of patronage & influence & this has caused some of the resentment we see today.”

    We basically agree again.

    Inviting people here to become Australians is not exclusive.

    “It is not a bad thing to express standards & values expected from people living in our society – our laws claim to do this but are not effective…” etc

    Yep

  117. CORAL

    Donna:

    I can remember you quoting something from Wikapedia – not sure of the spelling – yourself.

    It was when you were nitpicking over what constitutes a “single mother”.

  118. James

    Donna at post #63
    http://andrewbartlett.com/blog/?p=1377
    “Now here’s a definition of a single mother for you that I have cut and paste from Wikipedia…”

    Hat tip, Coral.

    Donna’s Apparently Donna’s propensity for self-humiliation is rivalled only by her hypocrisy. Her own reference for Putnam was itself from a non-original source. I chose Wikipedia because the article cited several relevant sources and the original article has been removed from the public domain. All we get from pro-multicultists are ‘arguments’ that sound like a mix of Newspeak, bad teenage poetry and attempts at intimidation by comparisons with the KKK. Constant requests for a study, any study, that proves the validity of multiculturalism have produced nothing.

    Donna: “…have made it your personal missions in life to undermine any support for a socially coherent society that values inclusivity.”
    If that really was my mission then I’d be pushing ideas like yours. Here are some results of your ‘work’ that I’ve chosen because they have echos of the Nazi regime.
    http://tinyurl.com/39k9lx
    http://tinyurl.com/2evzzb

    People like you have, over the years, turned previously happy, cohesive and prosperous communities into miserable, resentful and divided ‘problem areas’. Then, incredibly, you blame everyone who dares to point this out to you.

    Pretty soon we’ll have increasingly restrictive ‘anti free-speech’ laws in a dying attempt to conceal the problem and appease increasingly agitated ‘minority’ groups. Eventually you’ll do just what all the liberal, leftist types are doing in Europe and America – fleeing what they’ve created by sending their children to private schools and moving to homogenous, traditionalist areas.

  119. Donna

    She’s your gal Ken.

  120. James sees Donna’s KKK accusation, and trump sit with a Nazi slur – and then for good measure links to two stories which have nothing to do with multiculturalism (which isn’t surprising since the ‘multiculturalism’ James has been attacking is so removed from reality as to be little more than a figment of his own imagination).

    It’s particularly ironic in a sick sort of way, given that Nazism is at the absolute extreme opposite end to multiculturalism, as is the anti-Semitism that went with it.

    Anyway, time to stop the schoolyard bickering kids – any future comments which are predominantly just personal attacks will be deleted (which no doubt will then see me attacked as imposing an ‘anti-free speech’ approach, but one has to draw the line somewhere and once the Nazi card gets played its usually a good signal to start chalking out the boundaries again)

  121. James

    Andrew, my reference to the Nazis was not a slur, not even jokingly. My aim was to show the irony of how supporters of multiculturalism can inadvertantly set in motion changes that can lead to disaster. I doubt the early rank-and-file supporters of communism ever imagined where it would lead to. That’s what the links showed.

    The ethnic tensions in France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Britain, Sweden etc were probably not an aim of most multiculturalists, but they are an undeniable outcome. Those tensions would not exist without imported multiculturalism and now they are happening here. The British police force now bars members of certain (legal) political parties and politicians are imposing increasingly draconian restrictions on freedom of expression, all in the name of ‘diversity’. Is this the sign of a healthy society?

    You claim that my view of multiculturalism is a figment of my imagination. To the contrary – I’ve provided ample evidence to support my position whereas your ‘arguments’, despite my requests for proof, remain wholly in the realm of unsubstantiated fantasy.

    Please tell us Andrew, how did humanity produce so many different cultures in the first place? Was it by forcing everyone to live together? Or was it by leaving groups of people alone, free to interact with other groups but only when they felt like it?

    Andrew: “…once the Nazi card gets played its usually a good signal to start chalking out the boundaries again”
    But not the KKK card, Andrew?

  122. CORAL

    A couple of days ago, a spokesman for the Australian Federal Police said a huge national security risk would be posed by masses of Chinese people having to come here due to the effects of “global warming”.

  123. Geoff

    Yes James and closing debate can’t be far behind.

    AS I mentioned before citizenship is bound up in culture, even if Andrew disagrees.

    “Australian sociologist Katharine Betts and demographer Bob Birrell provide an excellent discussion of the changing approach to citizenship since the Whitlam government in 1973 in the March issue of People & Place. What they show is that under successive Labor governments the value of citizenship was reduced to little better than a certificate you could pull out of a corn flakes packet.

    They note two very different concepts of citizenship, which they label the procedural position and the patriotic view.

    The procedural view holds that migrants should have no other commitment to Australia beyond respect for the law and rights of others.

    The patriotic position, which surveys show is held by a clear majority of Australians, attaches a strong value to citizenship as a national bond and expects immigrants to live like Australians. This is the position the Howard Government has moved to in recent years.”

    I note… a clear majority of Australians expect immigrants to live like Australians.

  124. Ralph

    Andrew,

    “With that combination of name calling skills and political nous which would do a five year old proud, it does at least show why Ralph’s ‘arguments’ have tended to only coincidently intersect with reality.”

    This post is ironic, right? You condemn ad hominem by using it?

    “name calling skills”

    In terms of sheer puerility, nobody has managed to trump Donna in the name-calling stakes. Don’t see you chastising her.

    Perhaps you were affronted by my comment that the Democrats belong to the lunatic-left. Is that the name-calling transgression you are referring to? Well, I’m sorry Andrew that my assessment of the Democrats wasn’t terribly sophisticated and that you found it to be egregious, but many out there in the wider community would probably use the same adjectives to describe some of the Democrats’ policies. As you’re the one with the greater political nous, would you be so kind as to enlighten us as to where policies like those of Sandra Kanck’s place the Democrats on the political spectrum?

    “political nous”

    Well gosh, Andrew, maybe my political nous doesn’t measure up to your infinitely greater insight. But then again, I’m not a member of the federal senate. Please excuse me for not being a consummate politician wedded to the notion that one can only understand an ideology such as multiculturalism unless you’ve read my myriad of vapid musings on the topic.

    “It’s just unreasonable and unachievable to impose it on everybody else in Australia, so I don’t insist that it should have primacy over everyone else or that it is the only thing that contributed to the foundation of modern Australian culture.”

    Which is more unreasonable? Expecting migrants to assimilate into the national culture? Or demanding that the host nation accommodate the buildup of foreign cultural enclaves within its midst?

    The notion that a prospective citizen might actually adapt to his/her new cultural environment is apparently too much of an imposition.

  125. Which is more unreasonable? Expecting migrants to assimilate into the national culture? Or demanding that the host nation accommodate the buildup of foreign cultural enclaves within its midst?

    Both are are unreasonable. Fortunately, nobody is demanding the second option you put forward, so it’s not an issue. Feel free to keep railing against what a terrible thing this might be if you like, but I’ll stay with the folks in the reality based community and discuss what’s happening in the real world.

    The notion that a prospective citizen might actually adapt to his/her new cultural environment is apparently too much of an imposition.

    I don’t see why it would be an imposition. What is an imposition is forcing migrants to eschew their own identity and culture and adopt the culture of one section of the community in their new country. Almost all migrants put enormous effort in adapting to their new environment. As I’ve pointed out, the largest proportion of those who don’t bother with becoming citizens as part of their ‘adaption’ are people from Britain and New Zealand. Apparently my pointing out this unvarnished fact makes me anti-British, but it would still be a fact, even if I didn’t point it out.

  126. Geoff says “as I mentioned before citizenship is bound up in culture, even if Andrew disagrees.”

    You can quote any extreme partisan opinion you like to reinforce your own opinion, I am simply stating a legal fact. There is nothing in our Citizenship Act, now or in the past, which links to culture. What we did do in the past is exclude migrants on the basis of their race or country of origin, which at least some people justified on the basis that such people wouldn’t fit into the dominant culture – thus excluding them from potential citizenship as well. Unless someone is advocating a return to migration laws that are discriminatory on grounds of race, nationality or religion, – which one could argue is a de facto, albeit somewhat crude, cultural test – then there will remain no legal link between citizenship and culture.

    Geoff said: “I note… a clear majority of Australians expect immigrants to live like Australians.”

    hmm yes, well expecting Australians to live like Australians is sort of self-evident really. Obviously you mean they should live like your preferred type/s of Australians, but that’s democracy for you. One of the rather good characteristics of Australia (at least in my view) is that people are able to live as they choose, rather than how their government tells them.

  127. geoff

    “You can quote any extreme partisan opinion you like to reinforce your own opinion,”

    What extreme partisan opinion would that be Andrew?
    That Australians expect migrants who take up citizenship to live as Australians?
    I wonder what sort of Australian would consider that extreme?
    Do you consider Katharine Betts and Bob Birrell extremists?

    Since you’ve been a public servant, Senator, for quite some years I’m surprised you seem to think we don’t have a discriminatory inmmigration policy already, or that the government does not govern how we live. After all, being a member of the Legislature one would expect you to be familiar with laws.

    Of course there are many, and Federal, State and Local governments, provide and impose many laws affecting our behaviour. Those most unaffected are generally known as criminals or as they prefer… outlaws.

    Funnily enough there have also been quite a few laws passed to prop up Multiculti and modify our behaviour. I gather your aware of the Anti-Discrimination Board, oh and the various Laws such as those enacted in Victoria for example. Laws recently used by some “Australians” to silence fellow Australians from asking questions and offering an opinion. I won’t mention the “N” word, but a certan colour shirt does come to mind.

    How far are we willing to go to appease minorities in our society? How long is the tail going to be allowed to wag the dog?

  128. Donna

    ‘How long is the tail going to be allowed to wag the dog?’

    Well said Geoff. And on that note, I think it’s time Andrew to muzzle this barking dog.

  129. Are you really completely incapable of behaving like a grown-up Geoff?

    You quote Alan Wood’s exceptionally partisan view of Birrell and Betts’ analysis. That does not make Birrell, Betts (or Alan Wood) an extremist. It means that in my view, Woods (mis)interpretation of Birrell and Betts is an extreme one. But you know that, the same as you know I didn’t say they were extremists.

    And yes, I do know “we have a discriminatory immigration policy already” – that might be why I’ve repeatedly said precisely that any number of times on this blog. But you know that. What I said, as you well know, is that we used to explicitly discriminate on the grounds of race and nationality (and arguably by default, also religion)

    Perhaps instead of resorting to references to Nazis and misrepresenting other people’s views, you could just answer one nice simple question about your own views.

    Do you support re-introducing migration tests which discriminate on the basis of race, nationality or religion?

  130. zen

    Heritage? What heritage?

    Well, so some Hansonites would like to see Australia as a big uni-ghetto state with mass deportations of ‘other kinships’, electric barbed wire fences for those who beg for our help, border protection (albeit very, very expensive) even from our closest neighbours-islanders who are threatened by the raising sea-level (let them drown) – all in the name of ‘purity of heritage’ and cultural unity. Too late.

    Eureka stockade battlers and Ned Kelly were not ‘ethnics’; or were they?

    Unfortunatelly, since the beginning of time, humans have always been tribal and tribes did, and they still do, fight for feeding grounds and territories.
    Our 21st century has proven that we haven’t developed much.

    In the United States black population, after 400 years of forced importation from their homelands, are still called ‘African Americans’. Will they ever be allowed to ‘assimilate’?
    The United States once grabbed a big chunk of Mexico (California, New Mexico, Texas). Now, they call all Mexicans coming back ‘illegal’ and causing ‘negative effects of diversity’.
    Early colonial mentality still lingers on in some brains, in some states…

    It was Lev (Leo) Tolstoy who once predicted that: ‘The biggest threat to our civilisation is a Genghis Khan with a .. telephone”. (mobile?)

  131. muzzmonster

    Geoff #117 suggests that most proponents of multiculturalism cite food as the benefit. While I enjoy many exotic cuisines, I did cite many other aspects of culture including literature, sports, music, clothing and ideas.

    In #102 he suggested that I point out “Australian” characteristics. Chief among them is tolerance and a fair go. But some things I find Australian are, I suspect, in disagreement with others.

    For example:
    I love the rugby and will stay up till all hours to watch the Wallabies play – but I cannot abide rugby league.
    I love attending the first day of the first Test in Brisbane; a habit I know many people greet with scorn.
    I enjoy going for a bike ride on Sunday mornings along the river when many others will be in church (something I view with skepticism).
    I am very politically engaged, whereas most Australians treat any interest in politics with derision.
    Similarly, I am studying for a Masters degree and love reading about science and history when it seems many Australians have a mistrust of academia.
    I enjoy a glass of wine on my verandah, but cannot abide most inner-city or suburban pubs.
    I enjoy watching sub-titled foreign movies but cannot bear to watch Big Brother or Australian Idol.

    Simply, being Australian to me isn’t an exclusion depending on people’s their views belief or behaviour (as long as it’s not illegal – and even then, criminals are still Australians). It’s about allowing people to express themselves in their own way, no matter what their dress or habits are.

  132. CORAL

    How long is Donna going to be permitted to continue with the name-calling and exclusive cultism, designed to stifle debate???

  133. Geoff

    Good point Coral. I’ll try to ignore the ad hom that replaces valid argument if that’s ok with you Andrew.

    AB.”You quote Alan Wood’s exceptionally partisan view of Birrell and Betts’ analysis.”

    No I quoted his article on multiculti. Are your views not partisan Andrew? Is everyone expected to hold your views to not be considered “partisan” by you?

    AB.”That does not make Birrell, Betts (or Alan Wood) an extremist. It means that in my view, Woods (mis)interpretation of Birrell and Betts is an extreme one.”

    Talk about having a bet each way. LOL.

    AB.“You can quote any extreme partisan opinion you like to reinforce your own opinion,”

    Your problem is you can’t handle dissent. If people disagree with you suddenly they hold biased or extremist views. You say Woods misinterprets Birrell and Betts, yet fail to prove it.

    So, could you please correct the following misinterpretation or show in what way it is extremist….

    “Australian sociologist Katharine Betts and demographer Bob Birrell provide an excellent discussion of the changing
    approach to citizenship since the Whitlam government in 1973 in the March issue of People & Place. What they show is that under successive Labor governments the value of citizenship was reduced to little better than a certificate you could pull out of a corn flakes packet.

    They note two very different concepts of citizenship, which they label the procedural position and the patriotic view.

    The procedural view holds that migrants should have no other commitment to Australia beyond respect for the law and rights of others.

    The patriotic position, which surveys show is held by a clear majority of Australians, attaches a strong value to citizenship as a national bond and expects immigrants to live like Australians. This is the position the Howard Government has moved to in recent years. ”

    Due to site limits others will have to wait for replies.

  134. “Perhaps Geoff instead of resorting to references to Nazis and misrepresenting other people’s views, you could just answer one nice simple question about your own views?”

    No, I didn’t think you could.

    Instead of answering a simple question, let alone respond to any of the numerous rebuttals of your assertions, you just repeat for the fourth time (!) a quote which is both legally incorrect and a ludicrous and extreme distortion of Birrell and Betts work – as though if you repeat something which is wildly wrong often enough, it will somehow become correct.

    and you think that’s dissent?!! pfffft

    I wish you would “ignore the ad hom that replaces valid argument” – but I’m still waiting for you to start on the valid argument. Most of the other commenters here manage it most of the time, despite the wide variation in their views.

    Do you have enough courage or confidence in your own views to answer a straight question?

  135. geoff

    How typical of you Andrew. It is your rules and limits that have stopped me from answering the rest of your post and others. 2000 characters and 2 posts is hardly adequate. Are you also so limited?

    Where are any of your rebuttals factual? I keep asking yet still get no answers.

    As for the ad hom… you do little else.

    AB.”Perhaps instead of resorting to references to Nazis and misrepresenting other people’s views, you could just answer one nice simple question about your own views.”

    Unlike you and your ilk I have never before mentioned Nazis in my posts anywhere. But in the case of the 2 Danny’s it is warranted. I think you’ll find I haven’t been misrepresenting anything Andrew.

    AB.”Do you support re-introducing migration tests which discriminate on the basis of race, nationality or religion? ”

    Did we have such policies before Andrew? I can’t recall a religious based policy.

    Do you think their is never any reason to have any form of discrimination in immigration? If so how about backing it up with some reasoned argument for a change, instead of name-calling and obfuscation.

    Race? No. I can think of no reason at present to discriminate on the basis of race.

    Nationality? No. Unless we were at war with them and they displayed an animosity towards us.

    Religion? No. Unless they were a member of a religious cult that; did not believe in democracy, or the separation of religion and state, held animosity to the Western way of life, displayed this animosity through violence, were intolerant and violent towards others and other religious groups, sought world domination, etc, etc, etc…

    In which case Andrew, I’d certainly discriminate positively towards everyone else instead.

    Been typed up since last night Andrew. Unlike you and the politically correct I do have the courage of my convictions and reasoned thought to back it up.

  136. Very good Geoff – now that wasn’t so hard was it?

    If you just dropped the juvenile name calling and silly misrepresentation of others, you might even get the hang of this civil discourse thing. If you stopped repeating the same long quote, you might also find you have space to respond to some of the other comments and corrections others have made.

    Now we’ve established that there’s no valid need to discriminate in our immigration laws on the grounds of race, nationality or religion, we can stick with discussing how best to develop the multicultural society which that inevitably delivers, and how best to enable people to integrate into that society. Although it does seem we’ve basically had that discussion – you and some others appear to believe in using a policy of assimilation to manage our multicultural society, and I believe in a policy of multiculturalism. I doubt we’ll get much further.

  137. Ralph

    “Both are are unreasonable. Fortunately, nobody is demanding the second option you put forward, so it’s not an issue. Feel free to keep railing against what a terrible thing this might be if you like, but I’ll stay with the folks in the reality based community and discuss what’s happening in the real world.”

    Andrew, does the Ivory Tower you inhabit by any chance enjoy panoramic views over, say, Sydney or Melbourne? If so, I’d like to know how you can reconcile the glaring gap between your absurd denial of Third World ghettos in our major cities and your even more absurd claim to holding a monopoly on reality.

    As the above-mentioned Bob Birrell recently warned, Australia is becoming a “split nation” as Sydney and Melbourne diverge ethnically from the rest of the country. But most Australians don’t need Dr. Birrell to tell them that. They are already living with the disconcerting reality that some areas of Australia are being transformed into extensions of foreign countries through mass immigration and the buildup of non-assimilating Third World diasporic communities.

    Perhaps it’s unreasonable to suggest that some Australians might resent that fact that their neighbourhoods are being turned into little colonies of foreign countries. But to me, what is unreasonable is the way in which this nation’s founding majority has been disfranchised in matters relating to immigration and divested of the right to cultural primacy in their own nation. Multiculturalism has relegated our nation’s core culture to just one of many in an increasingly tribalised Australia.

    As an open-border enthusiast, maybe the disuniting of Australia doesn’t bother you. Or maybe you really believe that as the Anglo-Celtic mainstream starts to move toward minority status, your utopian multicultural ideals will be enough to hold together a discordant, multi-ethnic nation. History is not on your side.

  138. Ralph

    “As I’ve pointed out, the largest proportion of those who don’t bother with becoming citizens as part of their ‘adaption’ are people from Britain and New Zealand.”

    If there is no link between citizenship and culture, then obviously it would be erroneous to infer any sort of relationship between citizenship uptakes rates among different migrant groups and levels of migrant integration.

    Most would agree that a strong grasp of English is essential to integrating into the wider Australian community. But how does English proficiency compare with citizenship uptakes rates?

    Statistics as to English language proficiency by country of birth are also of interest. At one extreme, many Cambodians (48%), Chinese and Vietnamese (44%) and Koreans (37%) speak little or no English, as against Chileans and Indonesians (19%) and Germans and Dutch (approximately 1.5%). But Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians (99%) and Chinese (96%) have been prompt to acquire Australian citizenship.

    link

    So, those migrants who have made the least effort to integrate also have some of the highest citizenship uptake rates.

    This should, of course, come as no real surprise considering Australian citizenship has been devalued to little more “than a certificate you could pull out of a corn flakes packet.”

    And Andrew wonders why some of us are slightly affronted…

  139. CORAL

    I don’t find policies of assimilation and multi-culturalism to be mutually exclusive in some instances. Surely there is some common ground here.

    But the very fact that no one of any ethnic origin wants to have their culture crushed – sometimes trying to impose illegal non-Australian values on others – is a cause for serious concern, especially for those who have lived here for centuries.

  140. Donna

    ‘exclusive cultism’?

    What might that cult be? Please inform me Coral.

  141. James

    It’s official – the Australian Democrats still don’t think Asian or Middle Eastern people exist in Australia:

    Lyn Allison (2006): “There are still two Australias black Australia and white Australia”
    http://andrewbartlett.com/media407.html

    Andrew Bartlett (2007): “I have been one of many people, black and white, who have been calling on governments for a long time to make child abuse and Indigenous issues national priorities.”
    http://www.democrats.org.au/articles/index.htm?article_id=136

    Andrew Bartlett (2006): “However, we must recognise that children experience serious neglect and abuse in rich families as well as poor ones, in white households as well as indigenous communities,”
    http://www.democrats.org.au/news/index.htm?press_id=5123&display=1

    John Cherry (2005) “Ultimately, white society cannot impose a solution on black society. Ultimately, it will need to come from Indigenous communities and Indigenous people themselves as to how self-determination is going to work and how we are going to ensure that their community reaches a position of improvement vis-a-vis the white community.”
    http://www.democrats.org.au/speeches/index.htm?speech_id=1576

  142. Donna

    I think the one great advantage of multiculturalism is the opportunity it creates to broaden the Australian gene pool.

    We wouldn’t want to get too inbred would we James?

  143. James

    Nice to see you back here, Donna. Still waiting for your responses to my earlier questions. And waiting.

    “I think the one great advantage of multiculturalism is the opportunity it creates to broaden the Australian gene pool.”

    Who’d have thunk it – Donna thinks culture is genetically determined. I never took her for a eugenicist. She must be of the opinion that Indigenous Australians were really inbred until the Europeans turned up.

    “We wouldn’t want to get too inbred would we James?”
    I’m very flattered but I’m afraid I must decline your offer on the grounds of taste and common decency.

  144. Nice attempt at a red herring James, but when it comes to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, it really is a black and white issue.

    Ralph, the only thing remotely close to Third World conditions in Australia is that experienced by many Aboriginal Australians – to use such a description for urban Sydney or Melbourne is just silly exaggeration.

    In case you aren’t aware, I live in Brisbane and always have. The statistics you quote are quite interesting, although not especially new in the trends they reveal. I don’t see a lot in them to be particularly concerned about, particularly if we work to further improve our settlement services and support, and reinforce the positives and ability to integrate with a proactive policy of multiculturalism.

    I have always thought Sydney was quite separate from much of the rest of Australia in a number of ways. It might not be the picture we get fed through our not very diverse mainstream media and even less diverse mainstream politics, but Australia has been quite diverse for quite a long period. The northern part of the country in particular has always been quite different – if anything it has become less ‘divergent’ than most of the south in recent decades.

    I’m not sure how you can say people who have made the effort to become citizens have made less effort to integrate than those who haven’t. The fact that some who come from non-English speaking background have not masteed English is not much of a comparison of ‘effort’ against those who already spoke English when they arrived. There always have been Australians who don’t speak English – the fact that they have always been in a minority doesn’t make them unAustralian, nor does it mean they do not make a positive contribution to Australia.

  145. geoff

    Yes Ralph it’s clear from Andrew’s reply to my answers, that he’s also well into denial.. I actually placed conditions on my replies Andrew. I note you ignored them completely. Careful your ideological blinkers are showing.

    Oh and Andrew as for this little gem; “when it comes to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, it really is a black and white issue.” Well, if I remember correctly… and I’m sure I do… that isn’t the case at all… as Aboriginals have intermarried and assimilated with the wider Australian community more than any other race.

    As for the little Sydney slur… gee it’s been the Multiculti capitals of Australia for decades, the rest of the country, apart from Melbourne, hardly knows what Multiculturalism is really about. You know that of course you’ve been to Lakemba.

    Donna’s little faux pas was a beauty and I can’t help but reinforce Jame’s comment, that race and culture are not the same thing or interdependent. If you want to broaden the gene pool dear you let people of various races (which Andrew probably denies exists) into the country. No need to support Multiculti for that.

    As for the policies of; Assimilation, Integration and Multicuturalism… they are not the same. Otherwise we could have spared much expense and effort and stayed with Assimilation.

    Coral, no one expects migrants to forget their past or heritage, that’s a spurious claim by people of Andrew’s ilk. But most Australians do expect migrants to become Australians and assimilate into the Australian culture. The problem is under Multiculturalism they don’t have to.

  146. CORAL

    Exclusive cultism can be practised at any time, in any context or organisation, by a person or persons wishing to exclude or silence one or more others.

    The “cult” is in the person.

  147. “Slur” on Sydney?! Boy, how hyper-sensitive can you get! I’d be amazed if the people of Sydney would like to think of themselves as the same as everywhere in the country, but in any case, if I wanted to take a shot at Sydney, I’d do it directly (as I have in the past).

    Other parts of Australia have been multicultural for just as long as Sydney – indeed parts of northern Australia have been multicultural for longer, and perhaps because they were not being noticed by the elites, they have probably done it better because they didn’t have the flawed official policy of assimilation forced on them for as long or as strong.

    I saw that you placed conditions on your replies at #136, Geoff, but the conditions were ones which could not apply to any nationality or religion at present, so I assumed for the purposes of current debate they don’t apply – unless you’re choosing not to dwell in the reality based community, in which case you should probably enlighten us so we don’t have to waste time discussing things further.

  148. geoff

    AB.“Slur” on Sydney?! Boy, how hyper-sensitive can you get!”

    Well I actually said; “As for the Sydney slur… ” Hypersensitive? I doubt it. More name-calling and exaggeration by you… doubtless.

    AB.”I have always thought Sydney was quite separate from much of the rest of Australia in a number of ways.”

    Sydney is the gateway to Australia for the vast majority of migrants and it is the place most want to settle. If it is considered by you as being “SEPARATE” from Australia, one wonders why. Care to illucidate for a change? Like I said… slur… no big deal, you obviously have issues.

    AB.”Other parts of Australia have been multicultural for just as long as Sydney – indeed parts of northern Australia have been multicultural for longer”

    Really I thought Sydney was supposedly “Multicultural” with the arrival of the first fleet in 1788.

    AB.”perhaps because they were not being noticed by the elites, they have probably done it better because they didn’t have the flawed official policy of assimilation forced on them for as long or as strong.”

    The only official social policy forced on the Australian people IMO was Multiculturalism and it’s ever growing supportive laws and vast waste of taxpayers monies.

    AB.”I saw that you placed conditions on your replies at #136, Geoff, but the conditions were ones which could not apply to any nationality or religion at present, so I assumed for the purposes of current debate they don’t apply – unless you’re choosing not to dwell in the reality based community, in which case you should probably enlighten us so we don’t have to waste time discussing things further.”

    Once more I’ll ignore the childish ad hom, and once more your inability to provide and answer or reasoned argument. But let me point out to you that if you truly believe that, then in today’s world, you are the one completely out of touch with reality, not i.

  149. Ralph

    Donna, your inability to differentiate between ancestry (immutable) and culture (changeable) is indictative of the multi-culti mindset.

    Your talk of gene pools also reeks of eugenics.

    Those poor Finns, with their small population and high levels of productivity and innovation, must be terribly inbred for not opening up their borders to streams of mass immigration from the Third World.

    Andrew: “Although it does seem we’ve basically had that discussion – you and some others appear to believe in using a policy of assimilation to manage our multicultural society, and I believe in a policy of multiculturalism. I doubt we’ll get much further.”

    We appear to be at an impasse. I’m yet to be presented with a rational argument as to how “fostering diversity” promotes a strong cohesive national community. As I’ve stated, we should be celebrating our sameness and what binds us together as a nation, not emphasizing difference and separateness.

    Whatever lofty notions may exist, multiculturalism in practice has encouraged migrant groups to maintain an allegiance to their former homelands, removing from immigrants the onus of becoming Australian first and foremost. Mainstream Australian culture has been downgraded by multiculturalism to just another group among a multi-culti mosaic. This radical social experiment never enjoyed public support and has been a divisive policy since its introduction.

    Perhaps the dividing line in this debate over multiculturalism, immigration and national identity is less between ‘left’ and ‘right’ (after all, both the multicultis and big business want unrelenting mass immigration), and more between those who value Australian nationhood and our place among Western civilisation and those who value neither.

    Some days I wonder why multiculturalists don’t just advocate the abolition of the nation-state altogether and be done with it. After all, it’s not like our citizenship has much meaning anymore.

  150. There I was thinking you’d finally given a straight anwswer, Geoff, but apparently not – just more “childish ad hom”, as you put it. How about you spell it out then – which nationalities or religions should we be discriminating against under our migration laws, according to your criteria?

  151. zen

    Ralph,
    Will you stop annoying people with your blatant ignorance. How dare you!. My family still live in Turku and Pori (Finland) and they will tell you a thing or two.
    Due to the historical border dispute with Russia (Karelia) there has always been a big influx of people. Actually, the Swedes still call us half-Russians. Lapplands from the North are of totally different mix. Due to the Finnish exceptionally good social welfare system many migrants from all over the world have been seeking refuge and successfully settled in Finland. Due to environmental projects many Americans, Italians, French bought properties in the wilderness and conduct variety of projects. There is a big settlement of Poles, English and German nationals throughout the country. At the Helsinki University one can meet people of all races and creeds.
    ‘Poor, little Finns’ (thank you) are much better off due to high education standards, a better taxation system and tolerance; and most probably a better ‘population mix’. Education is free in Finland. (In Australia, migrants are forced to learn English and pay over $5000 for ..510 hours!.) Finland has never made ‘a big thing’ of their migration program that is why you probably do not know much about it. People from Finland, on the other hand, settle everywhere, particularly those who are fed up with the snow.
    Someone on this blog has also suggested that the 2 billion China is genetically pure. How awesome!. Get to the books and read something about the Tartars, Russians, Mongolians, Yakuts, and recently Tibetans. There are hundreds of languages spoken in China.
    Let it get it to your head that migration and population movements are as old as China. It is a natural process of human development. Just some local ‘establishments’ cannot handle it properly. And, for goodness sake, don’t confuse immigration with invasion. Just wondering what would be the population mix in Iraq after the war has finished.

  152. Donna

    Andrew

    I told you she was a foxy moron.

  153. James

    Zen, apparently your emotional view of reality is as detatched as ever. Finland in 2006 was comprised of 91.51% Finnish people, 5.49% Swedish, 0.8% Russian and only 0.03 Lappish. This means that foreigners outside of Finland’s neighbours comprise only 2.17%. Of this, only a few thousand are from non-western, third world countries.
    http://www.stat.fi/tup/suoluk/suoluk_vaesto_en.html#Foreigners

    I’m guessing most third-world immigration in Finland has been in the last decade, so you really haven’t had time to see the full effects yet. But you will, in time.

    “My family still live in Turku and Pori (Finland) and they will tell you a thing or two.”
    Yeah, I’m sure Pori is a real Babel of humanity. Have your relatives experienced their neighbourhood being completely transformed, without any government consultation, into an ethnic ghetto?

    “Someone on this blog has also suggested that the 2 billion China is genetically pure.”
    This is a total lie – no one said there were 2 billion Chinese and no one said anything about ‘genetic purity’. Why should anyone trust anything you say?

    “Due to the Finnish exceptionally good social welfare system many migrants from all over the world have been seeking refuge and successfully settled in Finland.”
    The stupidity of this statement left me stunned. You know, if this is the way most Finnish think, then Finland is finito. Sweden and Denmark are suffering from the effects of massive third world immigration. Finland will follow.

    “Let it get it to your head that migration and population movements are as old as China. It is a natural process of human development.”
    No, get this into your head. You only believe that silly lie because you’ve been told it by someone else and it makes you feel important and wise to repeat it. If it was true we’d all look the same and follow the same culture. We don’t.

    Are you a teenager, Zen? Please go away and come back when you’ve grown up a bit.

  154. Donna

    Does anyone else get the impression that Ralph, James, and Geoff are one and the same?

  155. Ralph

    “I don’t see a lot in them to be particularly concerned about, particularly if we work to further improve our settlement services and support, and reinforce the positives and ability to integrate with a proactive policy of multiculturalism.”

    Proactive policy of multiculturalism? What does that involve exactly? “Fostering” more “diversity”? Throwing together people who have no common culture, history, beliefs or values into a multi-culti, hollowed-out shell of a nation with nothing more a meaningless citizenship certificate to hold them together? Gee, that’s a positive legacy to bequeath to the next generation of unfortunate Australians who don’t have a second ‘motherland’ passport and who owe no allegiance to any country but this one.

    Here’s a bold thought: what if multiculturalism is the problem, Andrew? Nobody in their right mind would argue that Australia is a more cohesive community or more secure in its national identity now compared with three decades ago. Australians can see for themselves how their communities are being transformed into something they don’t quite recognize as their own anymore – strangers in their own country. As Dr. Putnam’s research confirmed, it is socially destructive. Does not the evidence of social fragmentation warrant a rethink? Why do you keep ignoring the real problems associated with multiculturalism?

    Zen, you’ve completely missed the point. Far from denigrating Finland, I was pointing out the stupidity of Donna’s gene pool comment.

    I did get a chuckle out of “most probably a better ‘population mix’.” Be careful, such a comment could be easily misconstrued on a forum like this.

    Ethnic groups of Finland:

    Finnish 97.6% (Finnish-speakers 92%, Swedish-speakers 5.6%)
    Russians 0.6%
    Roma 0.12%
    Sami 0.11%
    Finnish Tatars 0.02%
    Other 1.55%

    source

  156. Geoff

    Ah NO Donna.

    Here we go again.

    OK I’ll play your game AB. You must get dizzy continually dodging reality.

    “There I was thinking you’d finally given a straight anwswer, Geoff, but apparently not – just more “childish ad hom”, as you put it.”

    I always do Andrew. Unlike yourself. Once more with the baiting. You do get tedious Andrew.

    “How about you spell it out then – which nationalities or religions should we be discriminating against under our migration laws, according to your criteria?”

    I already answered that Andrew… I posted the “criteria”. I note the glass is once more half full with you when it suits your argument. Suddenly we are discriminating against someone as if that’s a BAD thing instead of looking at it as discriminating FOR others and that being a GOOD thing. If anyone else did that you’d be bullying and ridiculing them again.

    Do you suggest that rewarding BAD behaviour is a GOOD thing? Seems to me Andrew you have a distorted view of right and wrong and what should be done about it. Once more I ask; Is there never any valid reason for discrimination in immigration? After all, a completely open immigration policy is what the Democrats seem to be for.

    Oh and Andrew, granted that we have to put up with home grown criminals etc as they are our responsibility. Do you think that citizenship should be revoked for those who break our laws? Should they then be deported?

    Do you think it is proper for a member of parliament to swear allegiance to a foreign power? Is it right for a citizen to? What should happen if their was such a person? How can you justify dual citizenship?

  157. Answering a straight question isn’t a game Geoff – its called engaging in discussion.

    “I already answered that Andrew… I posted the “criteria”.”

    As you say, you posted the criteria, you didn’t the question I asked about how you’d apply it. You dodged the question and just kept misrepresenting other people so you can attack the misrepresentations. And then you complain about restrictions on comment length – gotta admire your chutzpah at least.

    So once again, which nationalities or religions should we be discriminating against under our migration laws, according to your criteria?

  158. Geoff

    Has it suddenly become a blog for slow people?

    Will you never answer any of my questions Andrew?
    Your constant trying to pin me down as a racist or religious bigot is tiresome. Of course many of us already have you pegged as a LW bigot.

    Well Andrew… using my criteria based on the current world situation…

    Nationality; Unless we were at war with them and they displayed an animosity towards us.

    We are technically not at war with any country.

    We are directly engaged in certain theatres though; Iraq and Afghanistan.

    We are nominally at war with various groups; The Afghani Taliban and The Iraqi Insugency. I’d probably say we should be much more discriminate about who we allow in from those areas.

    Religion? No. Unless they were a member of a religious cult that; did not believe in democracy, or the separation of religion and state, held animosity to the Western way of life, displayed this animosity through violence, were intolerant and violent towards others and other religious groups, sought world domination, etc, etc, etc…

    Can’t you think of any religions or cults that fill the bill Andrew? Well let’s see we have been attacked by Islamists in Bali. Remember. Oh and in Indonesia.

    So for starters it might be prudent to be more discriminatory with prospective migrants from there.

    Of course even Muslims have problems the world over with radicals from the Wahabbist sect. So perhaps we could discriminate in favour of other groups apart from them eh.

    One of your problems Andrew is how do you tell a radical from a moderate? Some may say there is no real difference. How do you uphold your duty to defend and protect your fellow Australian then?

    Perhaps this is one of those decisions Andrew where you have to err on the side of safety first. Perhaps when we no longer have a religious terrorist problem you can have a more open immigration policy.

    Oh and Andrew if YOU give it a bit more thought I’m sure you can expand on what I’ve said to you.

  159. CORAL

    No, Donna.

    It’s an interesting debate. Too bad I’ll be away for the next several days, without internet access.

  160. I’m trying to get you to pin yourself down Geoff, rather than hiding behind your endless misrepresentation, ad hom and abuse of others. If you’d come out at the start and said you supported applying a discriminatory approach against migrants on the basis of their coming from Iraq or being Muslim, then it would have a been a more honest and informed thread.

    According to one recent report, Iraq has the highest number of refugees and internally displaced people of any nation in about half a century – and yet you want us to discriminate against people coming from that country!! (or to use your weasel words to be “much more discriminate about who we allow in from those areas.”)

    We assess potential migrants as individuals, using a consistent set of security and public health criteria. To start making it harder for people solely because of their nationality or religion is about as unAustralian as you get, at least in modern times. And you want to lecture us on what ‘Australian’ culture is! Anyway, at least you’ve made yourself clear finally that you support religious and national discrimination, using criteria that you clearly interpret according to uninformed prejudice, which tells us all we need to know about you and your values.

    Ralph, your interpretation of multiculturalism is simply way wide of the mark. At best, you should be debating whether we should be having as high a migration intake – there is no way we could maintain the sort of high degree of commonality of cultural background you seem to desire with a migrant intake even half as high as we have now. And presumably we’d also have to wind back the humanitarian intake as well, as they tend to come from quite different backgrounds.

    It is forced assimilation which causes fragmentation, as it tries to impose an overly narrow approach on too diverse a group of people. By definition it is divisive, as it creates an ‘in’ group and an ‘out’ group. Just look at the debacle in France

  161. Ralph

    We keep hearing about Andrew’s “reality based community”, no doubt exclusively inhabited by the high priests and priestesses of multiculturalism.

    Andrew, you really shouldn’t idealise ‘diversity’ or mass immigration so much. Throughout history, when one group of people has moved en masse into a territory where another group of dissimilar people already live, the result has usually been segregation and conflict. The ethnic balkanisation of Australia has already begun (compare the ethnic compositions of Sydney and Melbourne to the rest of the country). How will it look in another 20 or 30 years if current trends continue? The assimilation patterns of old have completely broken down.

    How does your “reality based” clique account for the problems caused by multiculturalism in Western Europe? How do you explain the ethnic displacement occurring in Britain and The Netherlands as natives emigrate in record numbers while Third World immigrants continue to pour in? The Dutch and the British were the most eager to swallow the poison pills of multiculturalism and mass immigration, and look what it‘s doing to their nations. This is the reality of your ideology – division, tension, violence and displacement.

    Even ‘model’ Canada is not immune. French-speaking Quebec never supported Trudeau’s federal multicultural experiment, fearing the dilution of its distinct culture. This perceived threat to Québécois culture and the fear of being reduced to just another minority ethnic group is a driving force behind the resurgence of separatist sentiment in the province.

    “The fact that some who come from non-English speaking background have not masteed English is not much of a comparison of ‘effort’ against those who already spoke English when they arrived.”

    If a migrant has not been able/bothered to learn English by the time they receive citizenship, then there is no guarantee they ever will, especially not when they can cocoon themselves in their little ethnic enclaves.

  162. muzzmonster

    Geoff (post #157 – it’s getting busy here), I was under the impression that Andrew (along with John Howard, Kevin Rudd, and all other members of Parliament) are required to swear allegiance to a foreigner when they enter Parliament.

    If it came to war (not that I believe it ever will), I’m sure which nation the Queen would be supporting.

  163. James

    Andrew, you yourself have spent this entire forum evading simple questions. It is time you explained to us exactly what multiculturalism is and isn’t, while proving with evidence, why it is superior to assimilated societies. Why should Aussie voters believe in it?

    The bombers in multiculti Britain were ‘integrated’ without being assimilated and yet decided they would kill their fellow citizens, yet strangely you’ve used citizenship uptake as a measure of integration. I’m guessing that Aussies in the UK also have a lower uptake of citizenship than third worlders but they seem to refrain from blowing the place up.

    How does multiculturalism accommodate female cirumcision, dhimmitude, the status of women, polygamy, blasphemy laws and Sharia law?

    “It is forced assimilation which causes fragmentation, as it tries to impose an overly narrow approach on too diverse a group of people. By definition it is divisive, as it creates an ‘in’ group and an ‘out’ group. Just look at the debacle in France”
    Why not mention “the debacle in Britain”? Or Denmark, or The Netherlands, or Sweden, or Belgium? Or the events leading up to Cronulla? Why do you cherrypick countries that fail at assimilation and omit those that fail at multiculturalism? Why don’t you mention the success stories? Is it because there aren’t any? But we can all sleep easily tonight, because although multiculturalism is tearing Europe apart, the Australian Democrats know just what to do to prevent this type of “cohesion” breaking out in Oz:
    http://tinyurl.com/2wtnjo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_kyNIevsIs

    By the way, ‘forced’ assimilation is completely unecessary in the same way that no one is being ‘forced’ to enter Australia. Potential immigrants should learn that Australia is built on and is successful because of its British foundations and not because of, say, adherence to Sharia law. If they don’t respect that then they can choose to live elsewhere. It is YOU that is forcing a culture of ‘multiculturalism.

  164. Geoff

    Andrew you have already stated we already have a discriminatory immigration policy. Please provide a quote where I said we should ban Iraqi or Muslim immigration.
    “We assess potential migrants as individuals,… ”
    Really and apart from mentioning the Wahabbists I have said the same. Do you know what a Wahabbist is?
    “Anyway, at least you’ve made yourself clear finally that you support religious and national discrimination….. which tells us all we need to know about you and your values.”
    I don’t have uninformed prejudice nor am I ignorant. I have Muslim friends and friends from many other countries. I’d much rather be me with my values, than you.
    When are you going to start answering my questions and address the facts etc with reasoned argument instead of ad hom, etc.

    “It is forced assimilation which causes fragmentation….. By definition it is divisive, as it creates an ‘in’ group and an ‘out’ group. Just look at the debacle in France”

    Well if it isn’t Antonym Andrew? It is France’s pluralist policies that have created the problems there.

    Meanwhile here in Australia..
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22509826-601,00.html
    My son has joined al-Qa’ida’
    Richard Kerbaj
    She said Mr Ali would not have been radicalised had she and her 10 children remained in Somalia and not migrated to Australia in 1994, two years after her husband was killed in the African region while working as an army commander with the Somali Government.
    “I wish I did not come to Australia because he got in trouble in this country … they (radicals) took my son.”

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22516508-601,00.html?from=mostpop
    Islamic cleric preaching ‘hate’
    Sally Neighbour
    Mr Kassae, who moved to Australia from his native Syria as a nine-year-old, blames the break-up of his seven-year marriage on the extremism of Sheik Omran and his group.
    “I couldn’t stand their attitude and beliefs,” Mr Kassae said. “I had left that culture behind. I just wanted to live an Australian life. Then I was forced into the culture again.”

  165. ken

    “I hate to tell you this Ken, but I agree with you heaps of times – I just don’t mention it often cos it might upset you.”

    Jeez – that just lost you 0.5% in support!!

    I’m less inteersted ti the debate about whetehr we shoiuld have or should not have – the truth is we have and people are here.

    What Ralph and Jmaes now need to do is get over the debate and tell us how what we need to do in the future – who is going to be taken out and shot and who is to be expelled and how aer we gopign to do it.

    Otherwise its a tiresome introspective discourse, tell us how to catch the horse boys the doors alraedy open.

    Donna – your getting quite good – however a bit of more beefing can deliver the perfect coathanger..

  166. Donna

    Thanks Ken

    You are my mentor

  167. Donna

    … and Andrew deleted my ‘beefy’ posts :(

  168. Geoff

    “Geoff, I was under the impression that… members of Parliament) are required to swear allegiance to a foreigner when they enter Parliament.

    Muzz, although Australia is an independent nation, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is also formally Queen of Australia.

    “If it came to war (not that I believe it ever will), I’m sure which nation the Queen would be supporting.”

    Are you saying that under multiculturalism people may have divided loyalties?

    Friday, 24 February 2006: Should migrants who don’t observe Aussie values be kicked out?
    Yes: 91815 (86%)
    No: 14874 (14%).

    NINEMSN POLL
    Should migrants who don’t observe Aussie values be kicked out?
    Yes – 42832
    No – 5702
    Source – http://ninemsn.com.au/

    A CURRENT AFFAIR POLL 9th February 2006–
    Q. Do you believe that Australia should end its policy of multi-culturalism?
    93% yes
    7% no
    35,000 votes registered.
    Source: A Current Affair

    Now they are reasonable sized polls.

    Ken, I expect Ralph and James like myself don’t expect anyone to be taken out and shot.

    Multiculti was a change in policy, it can always be changed or changed back. I’d imagine over time it would correct itself with people not coming or leaving if they felt they couldn’t tolerate the change.

    We could privatise SBS. Stop funding all those NGOs etc propping up Multiculti and making money for vested interest groups. We’d save billions.

  169. The Feral Abacus

    “Now they are reasonable sized polls.”

    … but self-selected! So they don’t represent random samples, ergo we are unable to use probability theory to draw any inference from the results. In short, their findings are little better than useless.

    “Stop funding all those NGOs etc propping up Multiculti and making money for vested interest groups. We’d save billions.”

    Oh really? Where is the evidence to support this assertion? Geoff, what exactly do you define as being a ‘vested interest group’, and which NGOs are making money for aforesaid ‘vested interest groups’?

  170. The Feral Abacus

    Donna (#168) – never mind, the vegetarian Senator has even deleted some of my ‘pulsey’ posts. Guess he’s concerned that I might put the wind up the likes of Coral, so to speak…

    BTW Philip Travers has been very quiet lately. Hope you are OK Phil.

  171. Geoff

    “Now they are reasonable sized polls.”
    … but self-selected! So they don’t represent random samples, ergo we are unable to use probability theory to draw any inference from the results. In short, their findings are little better than useless.”

    What twaddle. People in “random” polls have the choice to SELF-select whether or not to take part. Random polls usually have a pool of only 500-1000 participants. You aren’t seriously suggesting that people (for and against) aren’t randomly ringing in to express their opinion?

    “Stop funding all those NGOs etc propping up Multiculti and making money for vested interest groups. We’d save billions.”
    Oh really? Where is the evidence to support this assertion? Geoff, what exactly do you define as being a ‘vested interest group’, and which NGOs are making money for aforesaid ‘vested interest groups’?”

    I knew I should have rephrased that, due to inherent pedantry. A “vested interest group” would be any group specifically making money from multiculturalism, ethnic groups or migrants. Perhaps it would have been better phrased as; Stop funding all those NGOs and vested interest groups making money from Multiculti. We’d save billions.

    I should also have mentioned Government bodies, grants and infrastructure specifically aimed at propping it up too. But I was trying to be brief due to Andrew’s site’s limitations. If you can’t make a list of such groups yourself, you aren’t trying.

    Eg; Harmony day, SBS, Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia, etc, etc, etc… ad infinitum

    “The cost of multiculturalism to the Australian taxpayer has been enormous. The total expenditure has been hidden within the maze of departmental bureaucracy. Costs have been estimated in the past as follows; Stephen Rimmer put the annual costs at $6.9 billion $6,900,000,000, ( 1991 ) Paul Sheehan, Journalist Sydney Morning Herald put the annual cost of ‘Infrastructure’ alone at $2,000,000,000 (1996). “

  172. muzzmonster

    Surely you know Geoff that these polls are not scientific. No one pays any attention to them exepct the people that watch the shows. They are answered by those who are interested in the issue (one way or the other) and only by those who are watching the program – as well as those they email the link on to.

    And just because a government program costs money doesn’t mean it’s bad. What else should we stop paying for simply because it will save us billions?

  173. Donna

    I suppose Feral, it was best for Andrew to delete the high-current pulses.

  174. Geoff

    hey Muzz… your point would be?

    Scientific Poll: 84% Reject Official 9/11 Story
    Only 16% now believe official fable according to New York Times/CBS News poll
    Truth Movement has the huge majority of opinion
    How will the Bush Cabal react?

    Steve Watson & Alex Jones / Prisonplanet.com | October 14 2006

    A monumental new scientific opinion poll has emerged which declares that only 16% of people in America now believe the official government explanation of the September 11th 2001 terror attacks.

    Oh and Muzz… just because a government spends billions a year on something doesn’t make it good.

    Do you know what Democrat policy on the health Insurance rebate is Muzz?

  175. muzzmonster

    Frankly Geoff, telling us what Americans believe about 9/11 has no relevance at all to this topic.

    And I totally agree with you that government spending doesn’t necessarily reflect good or bad policy but current government commitments.

    As to the Democrats policy, I’d suggest cheking their website. If you want to make a point about it, why not say it?

  176. Donna

    Andrew

    There you go deleting my posts again. And it was a ‘pulsey’, not a ‘beefy’ post.

  177. geoff

    I was making a point about your scientific poll claim Muzz…

    I know what the Dems policy is and my point relates to your claims re spending and policy.

    http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=4020

    “I fail to understand how politicians can knowingly lower their standards in order to get votes and not look at what is best for their country’s future. Some have never even lived outside Australia and are simply naïve (travelling to a country for a few days or hearing about a country in the news or in a book does not present the full story).

    So why are politicians trying to appease the minority by sacrificing the freedom and values of the majority? I believe it is because of a lack of knowledge and understanding.

    This is not just the politicians’ fault. I implore my fellow Australian immigrants: let’s grow up and stop playing the victim “card” all the time.

    Let’s value the freedom and quality of life we enjoy in Australia. Let’s become truly Australian and stop this nonsense of hiding behind “multiculturalism”.

    One has to ask, why on earth are the countries which espouse Western democratic values bending over backwards to accommodate other cultures – to the point of losing their own identity – when some immigrants do not have any intention at all of assimilating into their new-found home or society?”

  178. togret

    Geoff- what does “truly Australian” mean? Pure and simple- what is it, in your opinion? Can you express what you mean in words? Egalitarian? Honest? Cheery? Irreverent? Hard-working? Drinks beer? Lives in an urban area? Follows the footy? Or does it mean “agrees with Geoff”?

  179. geoff

    Why don’t you ask the migrant that made the statement togret?.

    It would seem he has an idea of what it means.

    I’ve already posted volumes of information related to Australian culture. Seems to me you think there is no such thing as an Australian culture.

    If you think anyone can define every aspect of a culture or lifestyle in 2000 characters or less your kidding yourself or trying to set someone up to fail.

  180. Adele

    It seems dodoging questions is Geoff’s stock of trade. After finally being pinned down the Senator following numerous attempts, Geoff immediately resorts to dodging the most basic question arising from a quote that he himself has posted.

    So courageous you are Geoff to put up other people’s quotes, and then try to distance yourself from them.

    Its all the more pathetic when the quote Geoff is posting is from one of Australia’s best known Chrisitan bigots, from ‘Catch the Fire’ Ministries. If you don’t agree with the bigot’s quote that you have posted attacking multiculturalism and don’t want to say what you think it means, then why post it Geoff?

  181. CORAL

    Here’s another way of looking at it.

    Australian politicians have traditionally been at least 20 years behind in providing much-needed infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and roads.

    Now our schools are grossly overcrowded and our public hospital system is more of a disgrace than it ever was before.

    I just spent a few days on the Gold Coast with relatives who live in Canberra, and their stories of public hospital disasters and waiting times sound just as bad as we experience in Brisbane.

    Bringing more and more migrants here, in addition to tens of thousands of families moving to Brisbane from interstate, is an exercise in gross irresponsibility – primarily designed to drive wages down and destroy both our lifestyle and personal freedom.

  182. geoff

    Hi Coral, yes it seems though that many parties want even larger immigration numbers.

    Why post it Adele? To address a point. To show togret that even migrants have similar positions. You seem more determined to shoot messengers instead of disprove or refute their arguments Adele. I wasn’t going to waste a post replying to your little personal attack, as it appears you haven’t read all the posts in this topic before making it. The following few posts (by me) touch on the Australian culture; #14, 20, 23, 43, 45, 53, 61, 68, 70, 80, 82, 94, 110, 117… I’m sure there is more on this site, and read anything by Ralph and you’ll educate yourself.

    As for the name-calling, how about you refute what Danny has to say instead of calling him a Christian bigot. How “bigoted” are you? I happen to agree with the section I posted. How about you show some “courage” and tell me where it is wrong Adele? The decision against the Danny’s has been overturned… and the original decision found to be flawed.

    Here’s some more for you to chew over and dismiss off-hand.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20838087-32522,00.html

    “By effectively rejecting the old M-word, Robb is not playing word games. He is trying to dislodge the multicultural mentality that was imposed on the nation more than 30 years ago. But it won’t happen until the Howard Government formally ditches multiculturalism, a deliberately slippery word. ”

    “The first is the myth of acceptance. As Mark Lopez traces in his book, The Origins of Multiculturalism in Australian Politics, hard multiculturalism did not make it into mainstream society on the basis of broad support. Opinion polls at the time showed that 90 per cent of Australians were opposed to a separatist form of multiculturalism. In the face of stiff opposition, it succeeded, thanks to the power of the lobby.

  183. togret

    Geoff, I’ve noticed that you seem very keen to refer people back to previous posts or to say that you were only quoting someone else. I don’t know why, but you seem to find it hard to say what you think about it yourself, and although I know it is a big topic, I’d have no trouble thinking of about 10 or 15 items I’d like to think distinguish “australianness” (I’ve used that word since you seem so hung up on saying that I said there is no Australian culture. I’ve never said that.)
    Back to the question, Geoff – what is your answer to the question – what values do you think distinguish Australia?

    My answer: I think of my 83-y-o Dad, who is the son of an Anzac, himself a WWII returned serviceman, born and brought up on a farm in the Riverina, but has lived and worked in the middle of Sydney, and now lives in a triple-fronted brick veneer in a sburb of a rural city. Currently he is devotedly caring for his terminally-ill wife, despite his own war- and afge-realated problems.

    Typical? Maybe, maybe not, but one example. Dad is a keen volunteer-he was in the Bush Fire Brigade, he helps a couple of “old folk” round the corner with little tasks and shares his newspaper subscription with a down-on-his-luck mate from the pub. Dad likes a bet and a beer, neither to excess, and is a great yarn-spinner. Dad values stability, and woudl vote for the government becuase in his eyes Rudd is inexperienced, but also the local Liberal member is condescending and not good on refugees, having cut Dad off when he was trying to make a point about compassion refugees from Timor, derived from his war service. Dad is immensely grateful to several foreign doctors, but he’d rather we trained our own kids, because they have the talent but are starved of opportunities. He ran a small business, agrees with the broad intent of Work Choices but worries about inflexibility, bureaucratism and lack of safetynets. He is a funny man, but has no sense of humour when it comes to our flag.

  184. togret

    He sees himself as having fought for that flag, but has no time for monarchists-he believes in a fair go, not inherited privilege. Dad cares about the environment but I think is most interested in water, which is understandable given what he has seen of droughts in his childhood. He thinks we should get out of Iraq because he objects to our defence forces (6 current members in our family) being diverted from their real task for USA interests. Dad loves his country but has no objection to the skin colour or religion of newcomers – he’d like to see them learn to settle well here but given we hodl onto Irish, English and german customs in our family is quite aware than Aussie-dom is hard to define, He’d proabbly sympthise with your dilemma, Geoff – he has trouble expressing himself sometimes about what he cares dearly about. But have a go, Geoff- what have I described that does/doesn’t gell with you?

  185. geoff

    togret;”Geoff, I’ve noticed that you seem very keen to refer people back to previous posts or to say that you were only quoting someone else.” Yes I did and yes I was. I also stated I agree with the quote. Which up till now still hasn’t been refuted. Yes CULTURE it’s a big topic, it covers many aspects of life. Unfortunately more than 2000 chars will allow. Hence the LINKS I posted.

    togret;” I’d have no trouble thinking of about 10 or 15 items I’d like to think distinguish “australianness””. Feel free to then by all means. As for your Dad, he is much like many I know, even my Father.

    So what are these other cultural customs your family adheres too?

    I note you identify them by their own nationality not as Australian customs.

  186. CORAL

    togret:

    But what will your dad think when he ends up spending in excess of 24 hours in the hallway of a public hospital – being toileted in full public view – when he is more than 90 years old and has fought hard for his country?

    What will he think of a multitude of Asians occupying the ward where he should be resting and receiving the best of medical care, having contributed in so many ways – to the taxation system, to the defence of his country, and doing his voluntary work?

    Hopefully the government will continue to pay for all war veterans and their widows to be treated privately, but what about other elderly people?

  187. Adele

    “What will he think of a multitude of Asians occupying the ward where he should be resting and receiving the best of medical care,”

    Huh?! Surely this sort of racially discriminatory comment violates your site’s comment policy, Senator?

    Are Asians not entitled to medical care the same as the rest of us Coral? Do they not pay taxes or do voluntary work or be part of the defence forces?

    Who do you think makes up a significant part of the medical staff in our hospitals? Does the name Dr Victor Chang not mean anything to you?

    The lack of resources and staff to cope with demand in our public hospitals is a real issue, but to blame Asians for it is worse than pathetic. Not even Pauline Hanson would stoop that low.

    Geoff, posting more quotes from your preferred far-right sources doesn’t really add to your argument – all it does is display what prejudices inform yours. As for the bigot from Catch the Fire, there’s nothing of substance to refute – just the usual wild assertions.

    I didn’t realise we needed court rulings to determine whether or not some one is a bigot. I don’t need a court to tell me that, and from my understanding that wasn’t what the court rulings or the original law relate to anyway. The guy is a fundamentalist extremist, and the fact you would cite him says more about you than anything I need to say. Seeing you like links so much, I recommend people have a read of this one

    http://planetirf.blogspot.com/2006/10/catching-dannys-fire-at-parliament.html

    to find out a bit more about Geoff’s favourite Catch the Fire friend (who interestingly also seems to have John Howard and peter Costeloo among his fans)

  188. zen

    Any English gentleman would argue that there is very little or no culture in bickering about culture

  189. geoff

    Adele, you keep libelling people. Why? I’m not from the Right and Danny had his conviction by the opinion police in Vic was quashed. And rightly so. As for Danny being my friend, that’s another lie. I note you have still failed to refute any part of his opinion piece on multiculturalism and instead attack the messenger.

    If you cannot recognise “Australian” culture in the posts or links provided I suggest that the problem of recognition resides with you.

  190. geoff

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/minette_marrin/article2511938.ece

    “If the broken society means anything, it means one in which the civil bonds between individuals, their families, their neighbours and their institutions are seriously damaged. It’s perfectly obvious that multiculturalism was bound to sever the ties that bind; too much diversity means not enough solidarity, and a broken society, as we have seen, and will see more.”

    We also know from Putnam’s study that diversity doesn not bring unity. Those of us living at the coalface, know this, and have known this for decades to be true.

    “It is shocking that this massive, historic change was forced upon us without consultation and without our consent.

    Who wanted it? Who is responsible for it? And why?”

    So much experience in common. As it is in Britain so it is and will be in Australia. Failure to act and recognise the problems inherent in the policy is living in denial and is criminal neglect of our and our children’s future.

  191. togret

    Geoff- just as an example or 2 – St Patrick’s Day – it’s a custom based in Irish culture – still held by my family. there was a time when Catholics in Australia were stigmatised for their religion but we have got past that now, thank heavens. Unfortuantely we now have other people being held up for stereotyping. In our family we also still eat particular foods derived from our German heritage. I call them German and Irish because that’s where they come from, Geoff. Honouring our past hasn’t kept the family from serving in various wars, volunteering in various organisations, some of which were culturally based in the fact that they were organised by e.g. the German Club, but benefitted the entire community.

    Now, Geoff, are you brave enough yet to say what you think Australian values or culture or whatever you want to call it means to you? Or are you starting to wake up that you and 3 of your mates are the only ones left who want to cling to some white, Anglo-Saxon, C of E, ninteenth-century verson of the vibrant we have here in Australia?

    I agree with the things people have listed as havign been brought by non-Anglo arrivals, but let’s not forget that they brought their strong backs, their brainpower, their genetic material, their work ethic, their desire to make a better life for their kids, their willingness to pay taxes and become part of the community as far and in what ways they wanted to.

    Some of their children will support you and me in our old age, Geoff, which was the point of post-Wold War II migration. Dunno when your ancestors arrived, Geoff, but I’m bloody grateful to them.

  192. Geoff

    togret I have already posted what I think the Australian culture consists off… I already told you where to look.
    I have no idea where the CE fits into your ideas… I never mentioned it nor am I a part of it. Stop listening to zen.

    As for your family’s heritage… geee… guesss what mine has one too and if I want to celebrate it on it’s particular day I can. That doesn’t mean i’m NOT Australian, nor does it mean I don’t live like one and appreciate its culture.

    Do you behave like german every day of the year? like an Irishman? I understand where my family came from, but I also understand that I am Australian. I don’t need to be a hyphenated Australian to make me feel special.

    Oh BTW the pub down the street celebrates St. Pat’s day too. Yet all who celebrate there are Australians and do it as Australians.

    So far togret, you don’t seem to be all that multicultural at all.

  193. muzzmonster

    If I understnad you correctly Geoff, it’s okay to “behave like a [insert nationality]” for some of the time, and still be Australian, but not all of the time?

  194. CORAL

    adele:

    Overcrowded hospitals are overcrowded hospitals. If the wards are filled with Asians, then they are.

    How would you feel if your mother was in her 90s – being toileted on a commode in an open area – and left there untreated for more than 24 hours?

    Most Asian people are relatively recent arrivals, who haven’t fought in our wars or contributed much in taxes.

    As a person who has done voluntary work for several charities for over 30 years, I have yet to meet even one Asian person doing this unpaid work.

    Criticise others as much as you like. It won’t change the fact that the government is guilty of gross irresponsibility for bringing in more and more people from other countries, without appropriate infrastructure in place.

    I know quite a bit about hospitals and doctors, and the problems that exist with both, and therefore don’t appreciate your condescending attitude.

    Your claims of racism may suit your convenience, but are unfounded.

  195. muzzmonster

    I can understand that you’re upset by the treatment your mother received, Coral. And I can see why.

    But should people be treated in accordance with how long they’ve lived in Australia? Or how much they’ve contributed (and how do you assess this?)

    You’re totally correct in blaming governments for not building enough hospitals, schools etc, but I don’t think that’s got anything to do with people from other countries – or citizenship tests, which is what this post is about.

  196. Geoff

    “If I understnad you correctly Geoff, it’s okay to “behave like a [insert nationality]” for some of the time, and still be Australian, but not all of the time?”

    That’s a big IF isn’t it Muzz.

    I said;”Yet all who celebrate there are Australians and do it as Australians.”

    How can you be Australian 360+ days of the years and Irish for 1 Muzz? I don’t hear many Irish voices in the Pub here on St Pat’s day Muzz.

    Mind you St Patrick, St Andrew and St George are all part of the Australian cultural heritage.

  197. muzzmonster

    I’m wondering Geoff, if Paniyiri, Chinese New Year, the National Aboriginal and Islander Day of Celebration, Bastille Day, Holi, Oktoberfest, or Eid part of the Australian cultural heritage?

  198. Geoff

    You asking me about the; dominant, Western, Australian culture muzz?

    I did French… I’m aware of Bastille Day… is it or could it be Australian?
    No obviously it is a FRENCH day of celebration. Do you think the French would appreciate our stealing it?

    Oktoberfest? Gee I’d have thunk it was of German origin. Even if we celebrated it hewre Muzz it would be Australians celebrating a German cultural celebration.

    Chinese New Year? No it’s CHINESE Muzz.

    Need I go on?

    You realise you just wasted my ability to post on this topic again today.

  199. OK, now you’ve lost me completely Geoff – so St Patrick (Irish), St Andrew (scottish) and St George (English) are “all part of the Australian cultural heritage”, but Oktoberfest is German and Chinsese New Year is Chinese?

    For goodness sakes, the Chinese have been in Australia longer than the British. Just cos they didn’t hang out around Sydney doesn’t mean they weren’t here.

    I’ve still seen no argument (other than individual personal preference or comfort levels) why “Australian culture” has to mean the “dominant, Western, Australian culture”, particularly given the demographic reality of Australia for the last 50 years or so. However, even if we did accept such a straightjacket, since when has Germany and France not been Western?

    200 comments now – if you keep chasing your own tail a bit longer Geoff, you might even catch it. You’ve certainly been going round in enough circles.

  200. muzzmonster

    I think Andrew realised my point, and I agree with his note that we seem to be going around in circles. I’m not sure I can be bothered checking this thread much anymore.

    Oh no! I can’t post on this topic again today! Who shall I blame for that? Myself I guess. (I will, however, note that Geoff didn’t say anything about NAIDOC – which I guess is Australian as you can get – or Eid which is not related to any country but to a religion)

  201. CORAL

    muzz:

    It wasn’t my mother, but my dance coach’s. These incidents are a daily occurrence in our public hospitals.

    My mother has a DVA Gold Card (veteran’s widow) and can be treated privately at the government’s expense.

    Many months ago, my mother’s GP organised an appointment at the Cardiology Clinic at the Prince Charles Hospital. Her appointment has now been cancelled twice, and if her current appointment isn’t cancelled, she will have waited 6 months for an initial consultation.

    One appointment was cancelled without any notification to relatives, or the nursing home in which she resides.

    I agree that all Australian citizens should be treated equally, but it is an uphill battle when the government doesn’t provide appropriate infrastructure.

    Then there are the inequities caused when people receive overseas pensions as well as the Australian pension. In some cases, this mitigates against people becoming citizens, and their social acceptance as well.

    According to a news report a couple of days ago, the Citizenship Test only has 20 questions. They showed a group coming out of testing, with only one person failing.

    I’m sure most people could easily pass a 20 question test with only an hour or two of coaching.

  202. Geoff

    Oh dear, where to begin?
    Carol… they only have to get 12 right. It is almost a complete waste of time.

    Muzz… “I think Andrew realised my point,” Really? But I thought Andrew was lost?

    AB… “OK, now you’ve lost me completely Geoff “ Ah yes… lost. Not sure how such a simple fact could lose you Andrew, but I’m sure you are aware by now that our culture had its roots in British culture, and Ireland, Scotland and England are parts of Britain and that the 3 saints and their crosses make up the British flag and that the Union flag is prominent as part of the Australian flag. See, not confusing at all. I gather you were never a cub or scout. Oh and Andrew… just how aren’t Chinese new year Chinese and Oktoberfest German? And Andrew, I can’t recall any Chinese settlement here before the British, feel free to enlighten me.

    Now where was I? Ah yes muzz… You will note I asked “Need I go on?”

    So this; “(I will, however, note that Geoff didn’t say anything about NAIDOC – which I guess is Australian as you can get – or Eid which is not related to any country but to a religion)”
    I gather means yes Geoff please go on. OK.

    National Aborigines’ and Islanders’ Day Observance Committee – I hardly think a Committee is actually part of our culture or the indigenous culture Muzz. I already commented on the Indigenous culture and how I look at it Muzz, I guess you couldn’t have bothered to read it. NAIDOC celebrates the survival of Indigenous culture and the Indigenous contribution to modern Australia and therefore it’s culture Muzz. All Australians are encouraged to participate in NAIDOC Week activities.

    Eid Al Adha? It is the biggest feast in the Muslim calendar. Muslims are a minority in Australia so far Muzz. Their religion is more than just a religion. So far as I know Australia is not and nevr has been an Islamic state. Celebrate it all you like, most Australians probably don’t even know it exists, it is not part of the mainstream Australian culture.

  203. Asians settled in and traded with northern parts of Australia since at least the 17th century.

    According to the straightjacket you want to place over Australian cutlure, anything British is Australian, but anything German is German and anything Chinese is Chinese.

    Why does the fact that Muslims are a minority in Australia mean they are not part of Australian culture?

    Indigenous people are a minority too – is their culture not part of Australian culture?

    You also clearly know next to nothing about NAIDOC, other than what the acronym stands for.

    Your refusal to acknowledge anything other British derived culture as being part of Australian culture might satisfy your preference for a narrow confined world, but it doesn’t reflect realiyt – thankfully. The fact that you can’t cope with anyone pointing this out without attacking them with false accusations of being anti-british just shows some old-fashioned cultural cringe.

    Most of us have well and truly grown out of that, but if it makes you comfortable, you stick with it. Just don’t expect me to advocate that Australia should go down that blind alley.

    Give it up Geoff, you’re only making it worse. You might find it amusing playing word games with yourself, but honestly ….

  204. Geoff

    “Asians settled in… parts of Australia since at least the 17th century.”

    Really? Yet a couple of hundred years later a few British arrive and create the Australia we have today.

    “According to the straightjacket you want to place over Australian cutlure, anything British is Australian, but anything German is German and anything Chinese is Chinese.”

    Well Andrew as cultures aren’t static any real German or Chinese influences would be apparent wouldn’t they? I’m not “straightjacket”ing anything I’m just not in denial of our real history and culture.

    “Why does the fact that Muslims are a minority in Australia mean they are not part of Australian culture?”

    How is the Arabic based Muslim culture part of the British derived Australian culture? We have freedom of religion here Andrew. Feel free to become a Muslim if that’s what you want for yourself and your country.

    “Indigenous people are a minority too – is their culture not part of Australian culture?”

    I have stated that it is part of our history and has influenced the dominant Western culture. It is recognizable to me at least as the indigenous “Australian” culture. But it is hardly the way of life of the mainstream Australian.

    more later due to character limitations

  205. The Feral Abacus

    “more later due to character limitations”

    An own goal if ever I saw one.

  206. Donna

    Thank God for character limitations.

    Pity we can’t have poster limitations.

  207. muzzmonster

    Chinese culture is apparent Geoff – in the numbers of Australians of European and Asian heritage who attend Chinese New Year celebrations. German culture is apparent in the number of Australians who attend Oktoberfest celebrations. And so on with other cultures.

    There are also influecnes in our architecture, our cuisine, our art, etc. Obviously they aren’t as obvious as our British influences because we’ve had more Australians of British ancestry.

  208. CORAL

    Donna:

    attempts to silence those you don’t agree with still amount to exclusive cultism.

  209. Geoff

    “You also clearly know next to nothing about NAIDOC, other than what the acronym stands for.”

    At least I know a committee and events ascribed to it are not an evolving culture. National or otherwise.

    “Your refusal to acknowledge anything other British derived culture as being part of Australian culture might satisfy your preference for a narrow confined world, but it doesn’t reflect realiyt – thankfully.”

    Well that’s not true on many fronts. I have acknowledged the influence of the indigenous culture on the British culture and the formation of the Australian culture. But unlike you I don’t keep denying and playing down the fact that British culture was and still is the major factor influencing our culture.

    “The fact that you can’t cope with anyone pointing this out without attacking them with false accusations of being anti-british just shows some old-fashioned cultural cringe.”

    The cultural cringe is all yours it seems Andrew.

    “Most of us have well and truly grown out of that, but if it makes you comfortable, you stick with it. Just don’t expect me to advocate that Australia should go down that blind alley.
    Give it up Geoff, you’re only making it worse. You might find it amusing playing word games with yourself, but honestly ….”

    Oh and so is the ad hom Andrew. All yours.

  210. Geoff says “How is the Arabic based Muslim culture part of the British derived Australian culture? We have freedom of religion here Andrew. Feel free to become a Muslim if that’s what you want for yourself and your country.”

    So Muslim Australians who have been part of our country for generations are still not part of Australian culture, just because they are Muslim! Including Muslims who migrated here from Britain!

    Even after 200+ comments, you’re ‘argument’ is managing to become even more illogical, Geoff! What would a decision of mine or anyone else’s to become Muslim or Buddhist or Christian have anything to with this whole issue? Surely I would still be Australian, culturally and as a citizen, regardless of my religious beliefs.

    No is denying that British culture has been a major factor influencing Australian culture. It is just that you are insisting that only British derived features of Australian culture can be called part of Australian culture. Not even Irish derived features it seems.

    Ah well, thanks for the insights Geoff

  211. The Feral Abacus

    Coral: Among the most prominent of the defining features of the archtypal Australian character is the irreverent and self-deprecating sense of humour, the rebellious attitude to petty officiousness, and the aversion to taking oneself way too seriously link.

    So – given his true blue Aussie credentials – Geoff would have enjoyed my flippant little word play in # 206. In fact, the generosity of his Australian spirit more than likely led him to intentionally commit his faux paux to provide us with some much-needed amusement. But of course his quintessentially Australian modesty would prevent him from admitting to it.

  212. Geoff

    Muzz; “Chinese culture is apparent Geoff – in the numbers of Australians of European and Asian heritage who attend Chinese New Year celebrations.”

    Yes Muzz… IT IS CHINESE CULTURE.

    “German culture is apparent in the number of Australians who attend Oktoberfest celebrations. And so on with other cultures.”

    Yes Muzz, it is GERMAN CULTURE, etc, etc, etc.
    And YES, some AUSTRALIANS in AUSTRALIA attend these celebrations. I gather you still, “don’t get it”, even though you articulate it.

    I’ve studied architecture Muzz and as much as I’d like to discuss it, food and art etc I don’t think anyone really needs me to explain about global and individual influences. Nor regional cuisines etc. keep trying i’m sure you can get there eventually.

    You however Andrew I’m sure will never “get it”.

  213. togret

    Geoff: Your definition of “Britain” is a bit off.
    Britain: The group of countries comprised of England, Wales, Scotland and part of Ireland.

    I know you like to keep boundaries straight, so hope you don’t mind my pointing this out.

  214. muzzmonster

    It seems to me Geoff, that you are set on excluding anything done in Australia that wasn’t introduced by English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish as therefore unAustralian.

    I’m afraid I simply don’t see things that way. If people who consider themselves Australian and do something on a regular basis, that’s part of Australian culture. It might not necessarily be good (drinking till you spew, bash up people, doing spinouts in back streets), but it’s still Austalian.

    The global and individual influences you mention give us new ideas and activities which (if we do them enough) become part of our culture. We learn about others, we grow, we propser, we are all the better for it.

  215. Geoff

    I don’t see things hat way either Muzz and if you actually read everything i said including the links you’d know that.

    I do see an Australian culture though and YOU seem still confused about it. I’m sorry you been so brainwashed you cannot see the forest for the trees.

  216. muzzmonster

    I’m not sure who has brainwashed me Geoff. Maybe those Australians I know who enjoy participating in non-Australian cultural activities.

    I can’t see why Australians participating in Oftoberfest, Chinese New Year, holi, Eid, etc are not participating in Australian culture, yet those who participate in Morris dancing, burning the Wicker Man at Woodforde or having a quiet beer at the local are.

    Come to think of it, why isn’t Guy Fawke’s Night part of Australian culture?

  217. geoff

    Seems to me Muzz the more you say the more you prove my point.

    A National culture is not the culture of other Nations. If it was then we’d all be the same and there would be no countries.

    Your attempts to identify what I’ve said is an Australian culture as a british one is farcical.

    More proof that you still don’t get it. Maybe you should stop listening to Andrew.

  218. muzzmonster

    In which case, why are British and Indigenous culture the ONLY cultures that have influenced Australian culture?

    Surely you don’t suggest that other cultures can never possibly influence Australian culture? (which I would argue is a gross misunderstanding of the concept of culture)

    The only other option is that the influence of all other cultures has been so miniscule in Australia as to not rate a mention. (which I would argue is not the case)

    If you see another possibility, please let me know.

  219. Ralph

    Andrew said: “Asians settled in and traded with northern parts of Australia since at least the 17th century.”

    That assertion is somewhat disingenuous, Andrew. Neither the Chinese nor the Indonesians permanently settled on this continent, nor are they responsible for the foundation of modern Australia – the British are. You should really stop re-writing history to fit the multi-culti narrative.

    Muzz said: “German culture is apparent in the number of Australians who attend Oktoberfest celebrations.”

    Oktoberfest is a corny Bavarian festival, hardly the epitome of German high culture. For you to claim that Oktoberfest is somehow an intrinsic part of Australia’s cultural heritage is patently absurd. Yes, Germans migrated to Australia in significant numbers, but most assimilated almost seamlessly into the mainstream culture, so much so that German and Dutch arrivals were known as “invisible migrants”.

    All this talk about cultural festivals is a bit silly. As I said before, some view multiculturalism as simply a warm and fuzzy concept that involves colourful street festivals and different cooking styles. For some reason, these naive individuals don’t look ahead to the time when the dominant mainstream culture of Australia has been reduced to merely another piece of an ethno-cultural patchwork quilt.

    Those rejecting Australia’s core culture seem to view Australia as nothing more than a holding pen for the world’s tribes. It’s all very well for the multiculturalists and other assorted social engineers to deny an Australian national culture, but you have to put something in its place. The amorphous multi-culti state is simply not strong enough to unify balkanised tribes into a common nation. And the end result of this multicultural anti-utopia can only ever be a discordant and dysfunctional society.

  220. The Feral Abacus

    “Germans migrated to Australia in significant numbers, but most assimilated almost seamlessly into the mainstream culture”

    Ralph, I’m intrigued that you should think so, for by your standard any of the postwar groups of migrants to Australia are outstanding success stories.

    The reality is that the Germans – most definitely the Germans in SA – settled in rural enclaves, tended to have little to do with their fellow citizens other than to trade produce, and spoke little or no English. From memory German was the language spoken at author Colin Thiele’s childhood home.

    This was not unusual. The grandparents of many of the people I went to school with in the Seventies either spoke no English at all, or only with heavy German accents. And they would have been third or fourth generation Australians.

    German immigration was considered to be a failure as recently as the 1950s, 120 years after they had arrived in South Australia. This ‘failure’ inspired many of the postwar government efforts to equip new migrants with skills to facilitate their transition into their new society, and to encourage Australians to assist migrants in settling, and to accept them as neighbours.

    The latter-day view of Germans as successful immigrants is largely a product of a conscious effort by community leaders during the 1950s & 1960s to counteract the community’s isolationist tendencies. This may well have been a response to the reprehensible treatment that the German community received during the First and Second World Wars at the hands of Australians who felt compelled to be conspicuous patriots.

    And if you are worried that German ‘high’ culture doesn’t have a foot hold, I can assure you that the performances of Wagner’s Ring Cycle are rapidly becoming an essential part of Adelaide’s cultural calender.

  221. geoff

    OK Muzz, how about you try to put together a list to back up your assertion.

  222. Ralph

    “The reality is that the Germans – most definitely the Germans in SA – settled in rural enclaves, tended to have little to do with their fellow citizens other than to trade produce, and spoke little or no English.”

    There were two separate waves of German migration to Australia – the pre-federation wave of settlers and the post-WWII arrivals. Considering that Australia didn’t even exist as a nation at the time of their arrival, it is ludicrous to compare the early German settlers in SA and elsewhere to today’s migrants.

    “This was not unusual. The grandparents of many of the people I went to school with in the Seventies either spoke no English at all…”

    My father and his family migrated from West Germany to Australia in the 1960s. They learnt to speak English before arriving and usually spoke only English at home in Australia. This was, of course, in the era before the advent of diversity worship and the ethnic grievance industry. Back then, there was no rights mentality, no demand for special treatment – just a desire to be accepted into the Australian community.

    My family didn’t come to Australia to join a segregated diasporic community, they came to this country to become non-hyphenated Australians. But obviously you’re infinitely more qualified to make blanket statements about German immigrants and their alleged “isolationist tendencies”.

    Perhaps I should adopt the multi-culti mindset: I am an ethnic minority, here me roar! Let’s just pretend for a second I’m in favour of “fostering diversity”. Why is it that in “multicultural Australia” the German community is disappearing? Since our immigration intake shifted away from Europe in line with the Hawke-Keating policy of “enmeshment” with Asia, the stream of German immigration has dried up. In terms of foreign languages spoken at home, German is rapidly declining in usage, dropping by 24% in five years (Census 2006).

    So, enjoy any semblance of a German community while it lasts.

  223. muzzmonster

    Why is it Geoff, that I have provided plenty of lists of what I believe are examples of positive multiculturalism in Australia, yet you provide a couple of links and keep on saying “I’ve posted links”. At least put them in your own words.

    It also seems whenever I provide any example, they’re dismissed as food or festivals (or “I know about architecture and art) as if these things aren’t important. Perhaps if you explained what aspects of culture you’d say were important, I might be able to answer you.

    I note you still haven’t answered my question (post #219).

    And Ralph’s continual and wrongful assertion that supporteres of multiculturalism and new ideas reject our heritage has been denied so often I get the impression that he no longer reads other people’s posts.

  224. geoff

    Muzz, the problem is you have failed and I have provided reems of information. Why you assume I haven’t provided information in my own words and why providing information on a real subject is somehow inadequate or erroneous is beyond me.

    I thought your question at 219 was rhetorical it certainly is incorrect, even though not entirely. hence I have asked you to clarify it by providing what it is you think other cultures have brought to the AUSDTRALIAN culture and are now part of it.

    Everything you’ve so far listed are identified by you as belonging to another nationality.

    BTW Ralph is more correct in his assertions than any of you so called Multiculturalists.

  225. muzzmonster

    I have only failed, Geoff, because you don’t agree with me. I think you have failed in seeing the rich and varied texture of culture we have in Australia. And you have not supplied your own examples apart from constant attempts to shoot down my suggestions.

    But you point out that Ralph is right, I obviously hate myself and my English culture and will now burn my ticket to the cricket and disown my participation in our Westminster-derived democracy.

    Since you seem to argue that other nationalities can never bring anything to Australian culture, and continually avoid answering questions directly , I really don’t see the point in continuing this debate.

  226. The Feral Abacus

    Ralph, I’m still intrigued.

    Your comment that “Germans migrated to Australia in significant numbers…” was made while discussing a traditional German festival (albeit an ersatz one). The context suggested to me that you mainly had 19th C migrants in mind. But you now claim otherwise; you say that you didn’t mean 19th C German migrants, or even all German migrants, but only those who arrived post WW2.

    In fact, your post #223 suggests that you might not even be referring to Postwar German migrants in general. Instead – and I’ll concede that its somewhat unclear – it appears that you may be talking about a more specific group: your own immediate family.

    “Considering that Australia didn’t even exist as a nation at the time of their arrival, it is ludicrous to compare the early German settlers in SA and elsewhere to today’s migrants.”

    But wasn’t it you who was making comparisons (#220) by implying that German and Dutch arrivals assimilated more readily than other groups?

    In any case, isn’t the first clause of that comment inconsistent with your earlier comment (#32) “Australia’s founding population have been in this land for over 200 years. Generations of Australians collectively built this country – they didn’t just step off the boat from the British Isles yesterday.”?

  227. Ralph

    TFA, I’m bemused by your equivocations and misrepresentations.

    “Your comment that “Germans migrated to Australia in significant numbers…” was made while discussing a traditional German festival (albeit an ersatz one). The context suggested to me that you mainly had 19th C migrants in mind. But you now claim otherwise; you say that you didn’t mean 19th C German migrants, or even all German migrants, but only those who arrived post WW2.”

    I never suggested that I had the 19th century German settlers exclusively in mind — please don’t try to put words in my mouth.

    Why would 19th C Prussian settlers celebrate a Bavarian festival for goodness sake? The first Prussian settlers began arriving on this continent more than three decades before Bavaria and Prussia were even united into a single German nation. Even today, Bavarian culture and identity are distinct from the rest of Germany. And Oktoberfest is a uniquely Bavarian festival.

    “But wasn’t it you who was making comparisons (#220) by implying that German and Dutch arrivals assimilated more readily than other groups?”

    The “invisible migrants” term was coined in the 1950s, in reference to the post-war German and Dutch arrivals. I was obviously mistaken in assuming that this term and its historical context was widely known.

    Considering your entire counterargument is based on a misrepresentation of my comments, I see no reason to continue this line of discussion.

    “In any case, isn’t the first clause of that comment inconsistent with your earlier comment…”

    Which part of “founding population” don’t you understand?

  228. Ralph

    Andrew said: “No is denying that British culture has been a major factor influencing Australian culture. It is just that you are insisting that only British derived features of Australian culture can be called part of Australian culture. Not even Irish derived features it seems.”

    British culture was the major factor in influencing Australian culture. By no means the only influence, but the predominant one.

    But at least you’ve admitted that Australia does have a unique national culture, one heavily rooted in our nation’s Anglo-Celtic heritage. So then, why bother with multiculturalism? Why deliberately encourage the creation of separate parallel communities? Why not just encourage migrants to assimilate into Australia’s national culture?

    I’d also like to know how you can accuse British and NZ migrants of not integrating based on their comparatively lower citizenship uptake rates, but then turn around and admit that citizenship is basically meaningless as it contains no cultural component. If Australian citizenship has “nothing to do with culture or behaviour”, how can it be used as a measure of integration?

    I posted statistics earlier indicating that migrant groups with the lowest levels of English proficiency (Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians and Chinese) also have some of the highest citizenship uptake rates. How does one integrate into the wider Australian community without a decent grasp of English? Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that Chinese migrants in particular have a poor track record in terms of integration, both in Australia and other countries. But you aren’t targeting the self-proclaimed “ABCs” (Australian Born Chinese) or “Overseas Chinese”.

  229. geoff

    muzz;”I have only failed, Geoff, because you don’t agree with me.”

    No you have failed not only because I don’t agree with you, but because you are wrong.

    “I think you have failed in seeing the rich and varied texture of culture we have in Australia. And you have not supplied your own examples apart from constant attempts to shoot down my suggestions.”

    Oh I have and also they’ve been backed up by others opinions and descriptions of the AUSTRALIAN culture. Italian culture is not Australian culture. greek culture is not Australian culture. Etc, etc, etc. Your suggestions wouldn’t be shot down if they stood up to scrutiny.

    “But you point out that Ralph is right,”

    I certainly have stated that; “Ralph is more correct in his assertions than any of you so called Multiculturalists.”

    “I obviously hate myself and my English culture and will now burn my ticket to the cricket and disown my participation in our Westminster-derived democracy.”

    Ah yes “derived” democracy. The Australian version. yes Muzz we have derived our culture ad institutions largely from the British or Anglo-celtic… if you like.

    “Since you seem to argue that other nationalities can never bring anything to Australian culture, and continually avoid answering questions directly , I really don’t see the point in continuing this debate.”

    I’ve never avoided questions. It seems to me you avoid debate or stop it by continually threatening to run away.
    I’m still waiting for your list of attributes of Australian culture derived from cultures outside the Anglo-celtic and Aboriginal. You make claims you need to back them up with proof.

  230. The Feral Abacus

    Ralph, why would I bother misrepresenting you when you have left so much so open to misinterpretation?

    “Why would 19th C Prussian settlers celebrate a Bavarian festival for goodness sake?”

    Because it’s fun? Just a thought.

    “And Oktoberfest is a uniquely Bavarian festival.”

    And yet the predominantly Prussian SA German community celebrates Oktoberfest. Do you have any further insights into this apparent paradox? Funnily enough, these Prussian immigrants have also been celebrating the uniquely Bavarian Schutzenfest in SA since the 1850s.

    “Considering your entire counterargument is based on a misrepresentation of my comments, I see no reason to continue this line of discussion.”

    Given the above, I’m not in the least surprised that you don’t want to discuss it any further.

  231. Donna

    ‘Italian culture is not Australian culture. greek culture is not Australian culture. Etc, etc, etc. Your suggestions wouldn’t be shot down if they stood up to scrutiny.’

    Geoff

    It’s the sharing of aspects of everyone’s contributing culture, the ‘assimilation’ into a joined culture, that has become the ‘Australian’ culture.

    And I think one obvious feature of our culture is where quite idiosycratic in our own knock-about way.

  232. Ralph

    “Ralph, why would I bother misrepresenting you when you have left so much so open to misinterpretation?”

    Maybe you have problems with English comprehension? Just a thought.

    You’re the only who fallaciously claimed I was referring exclusively to the early Prussian settlers in SA, simply because it suited your argument to do so. This is a classic straw man argument, whether you’re cognisant of it or not.

    This question is particularly ludicrous: “But wasn’t it you who was making comparisons by implying that German and Dutch arrivals assimilated more readily than other groups?”

    If I was referring to the earlier Prussian settlers, then why would I have mentioned the Dutch also? As far as I know, the Dutch never settled in significant numbers in SA during the 19th century (no, Dirk Hahn doesn’t count). If “the context suggested to me that you mainly had 19th C [Prussian] migrants in mind”, then how did you manage to so clumsily miss my reference to the Dutch in the same sentence?

    “Funnily enough, these Prussian immigrants have also been celebrating the uniquely Bavarian Schutzenfest in SA since the 1850s.”

    You really are a multiculturalist, aren’t you? Just shows that you don’t need to know much about other cultures – all you need is to feel good about every other culture apart from your own.

    Schützenfest is not uniquely Bavarian, it is celebrated in other German states as well as Switzerland. The festival differs from region to region.

    As the German wikipedia entry states: “An die alte Tradition wird seit der deutschen Wiedervereinigung auch in Ostdeutschland wieder angeknüpft.”

    Roughly translated: Since German reunification, the old tradition in Eastern Germany [former Prussia, TFA] has caught on again.

    “Given the above, I’m not in the least surprised that you don’t want to discuss it any further.”

    No, it’s just that your ‘arguments’ are easy, but extremely tedious, to dismantle.

  233. Ralph (#229) after stating the undisputed and uncontroversial fact that Australian culture is influenced by an Anglo-Celtic heritage, then asks:

    So then, why bother with multiculturalism?

    Because it recognises the simple and (I hope) undisputed reality that we are a multicultural country. I think it’s better to have policies which recognise relaity and sek to maximise the benefits of it, rather than pretending that we are solely an Anglo-Celtic country and try to force people to comply with that pretence – especially if we try to enforce monoculturalism at the same time as we continue to bring in hundreds of thousands of new migrants every year from just about every country and culture on earth. If you want to argue against migration, then it is more honest and more useful to do it up front, not try to divert the debate by hiding behind some sort of empty nationalism.

    Why deliberately encourage the creation of separate parallel communities?

    I don’t know why one would want to encourage the creation of separate parallel communities. As Feral Abacus indicated, that’s what happened under the old policy of monoculturalism, even when the diversiy of our migration intake was much lower. Separatism and sectarianism is a consequence of trying to elevate one group’s practices or beliefs above everyone else’s – we’ve had plenty of that in the past in Australia, and despite John Howard’s best efforts to take us back there, I don’t think that’s where most Australians want to go.

    Why not just encourage migrants to assimilate into Australia’s national culture?

    Because it leads to separatism and sectarianism, it tries to suppress rather reap the benefits from diversity, it is a short step away from nationalism and racism, and it is an impossible dream/nightmare to try to force people from hundreds of different cultures into one.

    I’d rather integrate all those cultures into a unified nation

  234. muzzmonster

    “Muzz we have derived our culture ad institutions largely from the British or Anglo-celtic… if you like.”

    I note you say largely. Would you care to expand upon where else our culture is derived?

    As to proof, what exactly would constitute proof for you?

    For me and other people I know, they enjoy and participate in these things you describe as not Australian and are no less Australian for enjoying and participating in them. That is proof enough for me.

  235. Geoff

    Donna;”It’s the sharing of aspects of everyone’s contributing culture, the ‘assimilation’ into a joined culture, that has become the ‘Australian’ culture.”

    So you now back ASSIMILATION?
    So Donna, how about you provide some examples of other National cultures that have been assimilated into the Australian culture?

    muzz;”I note you say largely. Would you care to expand upon where else our culture is derived?”

    No Muzz… I’d like you to back up your beliefs and statements with anecdotes and examples. I have already provided reems already.

  236. Geoff

    I await Ralph’s next dissection of your waffle Andrew.

    Meanwhile those really interested in the real world, might like to look at this…

    http://timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article2697772.ece

  237. A very incisive response Geoff – I’m not surprised that you’ve got no substative response, other than posting links to political polemics from Britain. I probably should break it to you now – Australia is actually a different country to Britain. It seems from many of your comments here that you have a bit of trouble grasping that fact.

  238. Geoff

    Well thankyou Andrew, but I thought I made myself clear. You were addressing Ralph, hence I decided to leave it to Ralph to have first reply to your post.

    Also your denial of Multiculturalism and its effects as a policy is evident in your denial of the British experience. Yes Britain is another country. And much further down the Multiculti track than we are and they have a larger population than we do. So to see our future we can draw from their current experience.

    Only the ignorant refuse to learn from the mistakes of others Andrew. If you like I could talk about Cronulla or various ethnic gangs etc, throughout Australia.

  239. Australia has pursued a specific policy of multiculturalism in a much more coherent, consistent and comprehensive way that Britain has, over a long period of time – that’s why we’ve got better results, depsite the current government’s occasional undermining of it and their deliberate promoting of prejudice and separatism.

    “Only the ignorant refuse to learn from the mistakes of others Andrew. If you like I could talk about Cronulla or various ethnic gangs etc, throughout Australia.”

    If you wish to show how you haven’t learnt from your mistakes, you can talk about Cronulla if you like. I can’t really see the point though – you have already done that ad nauseum on a number of other posts in the past (not least the ones that were actually about Cronulla). Hard to see how its on topic really – ‘ethnic gangs’ don’t have much to do with citizenship tests or multiculturalism.

  240. Geoff

    “Australia has pursued a specific policy of multiculturalism in a much more coherent, consistent and comprehensive way that Britain has, over a long period of time – that’s why we’ve got better results, depsite the current government’s occasional undermining of it and their deliberate promoting of prejudice and separatism.”

    Well that’s rubbish Andrew since we’ve changed the “definition” at least 3 times since it’s inception, in an effort to make it more acceptable to the wider public. Oh and feel free to explain how our implementation has markedly differed from britains.

    “If you wish to show how you haven’t learnt from your mistakes, you can talk about Cronulla if you like.”

    Really and what are my mistakes Andrew? Cronulla was a prome example of Australians having tolerated an untolerable situation for over a decade. Tolerance isn’t acceptance.

    “I can’t really see the point though – you have already done that ad nauseum on a number of other posts in the past (not least the ones that were actually about Cronulla).”

    Really I can’t recall bringing up Cronulla ever on my own.

    “Hard to see how its on topic really – ‘ethnic gangs’ don’t have much to do with citizenship tests or multiculturalism.”

    You can’t see how groups of people who identify as another ethnicity or nationality relate to Multiculti eh? Well that explains a lot doesn’t it.

  241. carol

    My husband is Australian was born and raised here and I am English and met my husband because he was living and working in England (22 years).
    My husband never became an Enlish citizen, he was a permanent resident and as such was entitled to vote and work, practice his religion and live his life according to his own lights. He made a life in England and liked it but he also liked being Australian and didn’t deliberately set out to change in any way to accommodate living in another country. Is that so bad?
    His parents have very racist attitudes and his attitudes are now very different to that. Most people that we knew in England were not bothered by differences in race. Of course we heard or read about racial tension and knew that it existed in certain places and newspapers being what they are love to emphasise that sort of thing but the majority of people are not affected in any way by racial tension, virtually every work place has people from a mix of ethnic backgrounds and people just get along, and have done for years. Of course there are intolerant people who object to ‘foreigners’ and some ethnic minority groups who cause trouble as do various other ‘minorities’ e.g ‘animal rights’ campaigners and the BNP, but it is the violence people don’t like not that they have a minority view. We lived around Bedford which has a very large Bangladeshi, Italian, and Polish community. There was nothing terrible about it, I lived there for 15 years and as far as I know it was fine for the majority of people. The English people I have talked to tell me they came to Australia because of the climate and the outdoor life and better opportunities, all ‘pull’ factors not push factors.
    Here I am not allowed to vote, or apply for a government job, or apply for citizenship for years. I would like to feel more at home here but I don’t know how to be ‘Australian’or why that is different to being ‘multi-cultural’ or what I’m expected to do differently

  242. muzzmonster

    Geoff, once again you have nor provided reams (at least not in your own words). I have already supplied anecdotes and examples of which you say “that’s not australian” without any supporting argument. And if I provide them, you’ll say that’s not proof.

    Should I provide the names and addresses of my friends who were born in India, Vietnam, China, France, America, Japan, Canada, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Scotland, Ireland and England (not to mention those born in Australia) who all participate in a multicultural Australia (which includes aspects that derived from non-British countries) and are no less Australian for it. I’m sure they’d be surprised to know they’re not Australian.

  243. Geoff

    “Geoff, once again you have nor provided reams (at least not in your own words).”
    I have provided at least 2 links to information on the Australian culture. One of them is very definitely in MY words Muzz. Oh and it also contains information from other sources. Is that disallowed? If so why and how is it irrelevant, especially since it tallies and agrees with my knowledge of our culture?
    “I have already supplied anecdotes and examples of which you say “that’s not australian” without any supporting argument. And if I provide them, you’ll say that’s not proof.”
    Well that just backs up what I’ve said about you being brainwashed on the subject. A celebration of another Nationality is not an Australian cultural celebration Muzz. The fact you identify them as such proves the point without me even having to.
    “Should I provide the names and addresses of my friends who were born in India, Vietnam, China, France, America… and England (not to mention those born in Australia) who all participate in a multicultural Australia (which includes aspects that derived from non-British countries) and are no less Australian for it. I’m sure they’d be surprised to know they’re not Australian.”

    Want me to list my friends too? I have friends that have their roots in other nationalities. Some have assimilated completely. Some consider themselves ???????? still, even though they were born here.

    If someone lives as an Indian or Chinese, they are NOT living as an AUSTRALIAN. Multiculturalism is a government policy that has been redefined at least 3 times since it’s unasked for inception. You might like ethnic enclaves all over the place. You might like a divided society. I don’t.

    I am still waiting for you to provide a list of aspects of the Australian culture, which were derived from other nationalities apart from the British. And before you or Andrew harp on it yet again, no I don’t see our culture as the same thing as the British culture. I just don’t deny the very prominen

  244. carol

    Geoff,
    my understanding from reading the posts is that (1)you disagreed with the policy which encouraged people from a non-western culture to emigrate here. (2)You feel it was done against the wishes of the majority of Australian people and that it has in some way threatened your way of life. (3)Although you would have preferred Australia to have maintained its predominantly European intake of migrants, you accept that policy has been abandoned and (4)are now arguing for (I’m not sure what)something to happen that will maintain the ‘Australianess’ of Australia and (5)avoid conflict and an unstable society which you see as something that has happened in England.
    (1) It is one of those things about living in a democracy, we vote for the government and hope they will honour their promises and our best interests and sometimes the oppostite view to our own prevails and sometimes we vote for people who do what we consider the ‘wrong’ thing. I think we have all experienced that whatever our view and can sympathise with how you feel even if we don’t agree that a ‘multi-cultural’Australia is automatically a bad thing.
    (2) I’m not sure why you think it will threaten your way of life. Things do change and would have done so with or without the ‘multi-cultural policy’ What is it that you think is going to happen to your way of life?
    (3)Since it is a fact that Australia has a ‘multi-cultural’ population what do you see as the positive things we can do to make it work?
    (4)I think we are all attached to the basic principles we have fought for, the right to representation, equality of opportunity, the rule of law etc. Most migrants who come here would value those things too, and so it is these fundamental things that bind us together and provide the cohesion that you desire?
    (5) I don’t understand your fears about ‘what has happened in England’ there are over 60million people living in Britain mostly in harmony, people move to Spain and Australia for all sorts of reason

  245. Geoff

    Muzz pt2. I just don’t deny the very prominent role it has had in the creation and shaping of ours.

    Carol;“(1)you disagreed with the policy which encouraged people from a non-western culture to emigrate here.”

    No I don’t care where people come from or what race they are. I disagree with a policy of cultural apartheid.

    “(2)You feel it was done against the wishes of the majority of Australian people and that it has in some way threatened your way of life.”

    It was done against the wishes of the vast majority of Australians, even “new” Australians largely did not support it.

    “(3)Although you would have preferred Australia to have maintained its predominantly European intake of migrants, you accept that policy has been abandoned”

    See 1… BTW, some Europeans are racist and ethnocentric too.

    “(4)are now arguing for (I’m not sure what)something to happen that will maintain the ‘Australianess’ of Australia”

    Don’t you think Australia should maintain an “Australianess”? The fact you “don’t know what” speaks volumes.

    “(5)avoid conflict and an unstable society which you see as something that has happened in England.”

    Is happening in England. Remember the race riots? The latest bombings etc. Need I quote the article again for you?

    A nation can very easily be multi-racial, but a nation’s culture is it’s culture, many nations culture is not a single nation’s culture.

    From John Ilhan who recently passed away. “Most people came to this country to build a better life. They should be thankful and grateful to be here. Therefore, immigrants must learn the Australian way of life, culture and learn the English language.” Couldn’t agree more.

  246. carol

    Geoff,
    look I’m a recent migrant to Australia and I’m trying to understand your viewpoint, I do think Australia should maintain its ‘australianess’ Why would the fact that I don’t understand what you mean by ‘australianess’ yet speak volumes about me? I have only recently arrived here, I was asking you to explain your view of it/ I asked my spouse what ‘australian culture’ meant to him and how is it different to ‘English Culture’ and he thinks Australian culture is about the ‘Australian story’ the history, literature, films, music and I liked his answer because he isn’t very ‘arty’ but I am and so of course I have found poetry and novels and films that were not readily available to me in UK and have been loving it. He was just being supportive of me, so I guess I still don’t understand what it is that you mean – you say you don’t want ‘cultural apartheid’ but what does that mean to you? What is it you would like me to ‘do’ as a new migrant to prevent it? This is a genuine question based on a genuine desire to understand what you are saying, why not just explain it to me with examples?
    There are over 60 million people in the UK and there are conflicts and occasional riots (the British have had many riots since 1700′s and bombs since 1970′s). It says that the British are not good at handling conflict but thats all. As I said the majority of people are not affected. I accept you are saying roughly ‘let’s do something to avoid conflict’ in Australia, which is a positive thing in my view but where I have difficulty is knowing what you have in mind when you want new migrants like me to change. I am not unwilling to change I just don’t know, over and above being a good neighbour and a law abiding citizen what you expect from me and other migrants. I would genuinely like to understand your view.

  247. CORAL

    That’s right, Geoff. The vast majority of Australians (including “new” Australians) do not support a continuing huge influx of migrants.

    Bring on a referendum and let all of the people have their say.

  248. zen

    Geoff
    British culture is an Anglo-Saxon culture and the language belongs to Germanic languages. There is no homogeneous British culture; the English language consists of Latin (about 50 %), Greek, French, Celtic, Gaelic, Swedish etc.
    English music, architecture and literature shows influence of other ‘cultures’: Beowulf, Marie de France, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Christopher Wren, Turner, to name just a few.
    It does not stop the British call themselves ‘English -English’(coming from Normands -French, Celts, Saxons, Picts or Romans) or ‘British’ which include Welsh, Scottish, Indians, Sri Lankans, people from Hong Kong or Kenya. Many ‘British subjects’ come from former colonies and they are called British. ‘British’ is tobacco, calico, cotton, coffee, cocoa and rubber. None of the British monarchs was English-British. That is probably why it makes British traditions so fascinating. The very reason we migrated to Australia was the notion that Australia was culturally very close to England. We did not make a mistake settling in this wonderful country; but we made a mistake thinking that Australia was much closer to England than it really is. Brits are more tolerant.
    80% Australians supported ‘the Tampa’ barbarity. Remember?
    Perhaps we were spoilt in England staying there for too long.

  249. Geoff

    Carol; “I do think Australia should maintain its ‘australianess’”

    So do I.

    Carol; “I asked my spouse what ‘australian culture’ meant to him and how is it different to ‘English Culture’ and he thinks Australian culture is about the ‘Australian story’ the history, literature, films, music and I liked his answer”

    Then you would have liked mine. I suggest you go back and read the linked articles.

    Carol; “you say you don’t want ‘cultural apartheid’”

    Don’t you know Carol? I’d have thought being an English speaker you’d understand the meanings of English words.

    Carol; “I accept you are saying roughly ‘let’s do something to avoid conflict’ in Australia, which is a positive thing in my view but where I have difficulty is knowing what you have in mind when you want new migrants like me to change. I am not unwilling to change I just don’t know, over and above being a good neighbour and a law abiding citizen what you expect from me and other migrants. I would genuinely like to understand your view.

    I note you ignored John Ilhan’s quote; “Most people came to this country to build a better life. They should be thankful and grateful to be here. Therefore, immigrants must learn the Australian way of life, culture and learn the English language.”

    If you are a Migrant and want to become an Australian, having the language already your part way there.

    Teach your mother to suck eggs zen… I studied Elementary Language at school and did French and Italian.

    As for; “The very reason we migrated to Australia was the notion that Australia was culturally very close to England. We did not make a mistake settling in this wonderful country; but we made a mistake thinking that Australia was much closer to England than it really is. Brits are more tolerant.”

    Yes well we haven’t had race riots nor have we had home-grown terrorists attacking us.

    Zen;“Perhaps we were spoilt in England staying there for too long.”

    Perhaps you should go back then.

  250. zen

    Geoff
    It may come as a surprise to you that
    I am a linguist by profession and I did my post grad studies in comparative linguistics in England (Reading). I speak, read and write fluently in at least 6 languages and I studied Latin both in high school (four years) and at the uni.(2 years)
    My first profession is an English philologist which I obtained at the uni after 5 years of full time studies (42 contact hours per week, and over 120 written and oral exams). I also completed 2 post grad studies in Australia – Adelaide uni (Australian and N.Zealand literature) and I also got a post grad diploma in Information Management. Time and again we are told that many migrants are ‘overqualified for Australia’ and that’s precisely the reason we are here – to help Australia to ‘build bridges’.
    You do not have to offend me, or my mum, or advise me on anything. I have been to England. Now it is your turn to go there and learn at least some eristics. You may find out that there are no Martin Bryants, Snowtown killers or juvenile school arsonists there. It would be good if you could distinguish social pathology from national culture.

  251. Geoff

    Well zen, mon petite chou, if you were truly a philologist I’d expect you to recognize the saying and understand its meaning.

    “Teach your mother to suck eggs” has nothing to do with your mother.

    It has slight variations and sometimes grandmother is used. Many similar expressions have been invented as well, down the years. Such as; Don’t teach your grandmother how to milk ducks, and don’t teach your grandmother to steal sheep.

    Admittedly, it does look odd, but its meaning is clear enough: don’t give needless assistance or presume to offer advice to an expert or someone who is knowledgeable or already well versed. As that prolific author, Anon, once wrote:

    Teach not thy parent’s mother to extract
    The embryo juices of the bird by suction.
    The good old lady can that feat enact,
    Quite irrespective of your kind instruction.

    Am I impressed with your resume? About as much as I am with your attitude. Sorry but that’s the Australian in me. Try it on an American.

  252. Adele

    I didn’t realise being an arrogant anti-intellectual boor was part of Australian culture Geoff. No wonder so many other people don’t identify with your characterisation of it.

    It’s a good way to avoid having to accept uncomfortable facts or the possibility that just maybe someone you disagree with might have some knowledege you weren’t aware of that demonstrates you might be mistaken.

    Although your oh-so-cutting risposte telling someone you don’t like to “go back where they came from” does have an unfortunate echo of the insecure xenophobes of days gone by – not to mention the unpleasant white supremicists who embarassed our country so badly at Cronulla. No wonder you want a return to the 1950s, where being openly obnoxious towards someone who’d come from or lived overseas was socially acceptable, if not encouraged as a way of showing you’d assimilated with the dominant ‘culture’.

  253. carol

    Geoff, I came to Australia because I have an Australian husband and he wanted to come back after many years away. Australia is a lovely place but so is Britain in my view.

    The phrases you use ‘cultural apartheid’ ‘Australian Culture’ no doubt have meaning to you but really they are quite abstract and meaningless to me. The only sense I can make of what you say is that you think that what you are represents the ‘Australian way’, and I’m sure to some extent that would be true, just as I am equally sure that there will be many Australians who are different to you who think they represent the Australian way, and they will be right too. What I wanted to know was what the ‘australian way’ way meant to you in concrete terms, but I notice that you are simply unable or don’t want to articulate it. That’s fine I was just curious. Lots of things have surprised me since I have been here but Austalia is a beautiful country and I’m looking forward to understanding it better.
    Bye everyone it was interesting to read your views.

  254. To be fair Carol, Geoff did articulate his version of the “Australian way” – lots of blustering about how people should be “true Aussies” without ever being able to define it as anything that isn’t British, continuous streams of childish abuse at anyone who disagrees with him, followed by the time honoured conculding argument telling people to “go back where you came from”.

  255. Ken

    Andrew – Can you can this thread – its getting worse than the jolanda file

  256. Geoff

    Trying to stifle debate Ken? Patience Ken.

    Adele; “I didn’t realise being an arrogant anti-intellectual boor was part of Australian culture Geoff…”

    Well actually Adele your ad hom response was disappointingly predictable. Nothing arrogant in what I said at all. Just the facts.

    I gather you are unaware of the Australian attitude to braggadocio. To authority, pomposity and arrogance. To airs and graces. I suggest you read about our troops in WWI and WWII. Bushrangers. I suggest you look to our history and the breaking down of the English class structure and the creation of a more egalitarian society.

    Gee you didn’t disappoint me after all, thanks Andrew. I don’t believe I’ve ever used the term “true Aussies” by the way Andrew. Not in my everyday vernacular. I may be Australian but I’m not stereotypically an “Ocker”.

    I’ve provided a more comprehensive definition of the Australian culture than you or any of your supporters. I haven’t used childish abuse to anyone. As for people leaving Australia, if they see us in a negative light and would be happier elsewhere, it is a logical suggestion.

    One more time then, for Andrew and the rest too lazy or in denial to bother… #23, #43, #82
    http://www.convictcreations.com/
http://www.convictcreations.com/culture/index.htm

    and “THERE IS AN AUSTRALIAN CULTURE”… #61
    http://cracker.com.au/viewthread.aspx?threadid=135611&categoryid=11281

    which I end with… “We want others to join us as Australians and change with us… not force change upon us, or be separate from us.”

  257. CORAL

    More name calling, Adele.

  258. muzzmonster

    “… he thinks Australian culture is about the ‘Australian story’ the history, literature, films, music.”

    Personally I’d add a few other things as well, but don’t disagree with the concept.

    Where I disagree with Geoff is that I think Australia’s history, literature, films, music etc have been influenced by people from places other than Britain, changing it in subtle ways, yet it still remains Australian and is the better for it.

    This is the same as Zen comments – that English culture has been influenced by many other cultures yet remains English culture but is greatly enriched.

  259. Fair enough Ken – I’ll go with your ability to make a balanced judgement about these things. No doubt Geoff will again claim that my closing off a thread is somehow stifling debate or censoring him, but he has made nearly 60 comments on this thread which has been running nearly 3 months, so I’m not doing a very good job of stifling him if that’s my aim.

    the end seems to come down to ‘become like me and then change with me’ or else go back where you came from.

    Time to adopt that Australian attitude towards pomposity and arrogance.

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