Australia has its own
unique culture, developed over many years. That is not to say that the country is made up of white, Anglo-Saxon
people, all speaking English. No, we are a diverse cultural population, with one thing in common.
We have come to Australia for what it is NOW, not what it could be like if we changed it to the type of country we
left to come here!
Around 40,000 years ago, there was another
race here. Over time, they gave way to the indigenous race that Captain Cook and the early colonizers from Great
Britain first came to know. The rock and cave art in Central and Outback Australia tells the story of the first
forty thousand years of history, and since then, the rest of it began at The Rocks in Sydney. Australia has had a history
of being colonised, and it has progressively enriched the country, to give us the wonderful, uniquely Australian culture we
now have and are so proud of.
Therein lies the key to our development culturally. Immigrants
to this country need to embrace the Australia they are coming to, or don’t bother coming. This is
not the place to set up an enclave where English is not spoken, where street signs are in other languages at the expense of
the English language signage. This is not the place to establish schools to teach solely the practices
and culture of another country – if those features are desired, they need to become EXTRA-curricular activities, enabling
school children and graduates to become contributors to the Australian society and community which they have adopted.
We ARE a lucky country, to have the space and freedoms we have, and it is these features that
make this such a desirable country to want to live in. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”
was the catchcry, and when in Australia, it is a fair call to adopt this country and its customs as your own, if you intend
to make it your home.
However, do not deny your own customs, and please do celebrate them and invite us to join in,
to celebrate our differences and similarities. But do not deny us the right to move freely around our own
country, by bringing your petty squabbles and religious differences here and claiming to have rights over the local people,
which did not exist before your arrival.
There are thousands of religions around the world and in Australia, we are
free to practise any religion we wish. However, just as it is illegal to peddle drugs, it is also morally
wrong to peddle fanatical beliefs and impose them on people who would otherwise be happy without them. The
“Gods” to which each religious group prays would no more destroy the people of another faith than they would praise
the actions of their believers for doing so. Anyone who peddles such fanaticism in this country must be
asked to leave immediately and return to where their religion or their birthright claims them, but they do not belong in this
This applies to some of the customs of other religions too. For example, a
current furore is growing over polygamous marriages from a religion that is rapidly growing in number in this country.
The news reports of this week have religious leaders hounding authorities to “change the laws" so they can
bring this custom of multiple marriages into the country, essentially changing the nature of the country they are coming to,
rather than evolving and changing to suit it. It’s not a matter of arriving here and demanding changes
be made to suit them, it’s more a matter of accepting that this IS already a wonderful country to live in, to migrate
to and accepting it, as it is in essence. If the country a migrant comes to immediately needs to be changed,
then I suggest that it’s the wrong migrant for the country.
If you doubt this, just try migrating to
some of the other countries in the region, and see how far that type of behaviour will get you! Try buying property
in Malaysia. Try becoming a Japanese resident. Ask for unemployment benefits in India, Pakistan, or Afghanistan.
Try getting a job in America without a Green Card, or demand your civil rights in South Africa, or Indonesia. Then think
about the opportunities we have here in Australia, gain a new understanding of what "freedom" really means, get
off your butt and earn your place here too! Or go away! Its your choice.....
There is a citizenship
test for migrant entrants to Australia and it is probably a good idea, on an educational basis. However,
rather than test knowledge of local heroes, it should be an educational instrument, teaching and ensuring that the attitude
of our new citizens is compatible and complementary to the Australian ethos and way of life, and the values which have made
this country the proud nation that it is.