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Immigration and Cultural Integration

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As the lucky country, we have many people wanting to join us here, to live and to make it their home.  However, we need to ensure they are willing to contribute as citizens of this country, without importing the problems of their country.

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 country.

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.

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