If Australia, as the Prime Minister claims, is the most successful multicultural country on the planet then we need to embrace that multiculturalism when accepting new citizens.
Immigrants to Australia have made immense contributions to our country and many did so without ever being able to speak English to native standards. Look at the many very successful Chinese, Vietnamese, Italians and Croats. Go to Chinatown and experience that some of those who serve you in restaurants barely speak English, and there are quite a few old Italians walking around Freo who have lived here for sixty plus years whose English language skills would not be good enough to get Australian citizenship today.
Fact is that holding on to one’s language, culture, food, traditions and religion when one migrates gives a sense of belonging, safety and security in a foreign country, even more so for those who were forced to leave their countries.
But it does not matter because the actual integration starts with the children and grandchildren of the original immigrants, and see how they too are successful with many immigrant children being the top students at high schools and in universities, to the benefit of Australia because they will become our future leaders.
By introducing questions about domestic violence to obtain citizenship the government emphasises difference in culture when it should realise that people change when migrating and most of them will accept the rules and laws of their new country, because most have been brought up to be law-abiding people no matter where they live.
Christians don’t break the law and kill people because the Bible preaches and eye for an eye, so why would Muslim men break Australian laws and beat their wife because the Koran says they can?
Domestic violence is rampant in Australia where drunken men beat up their female partners. Muslims don’t drink alcohol so it is more likely that there is less domestic violence in their culture because of that.
We need to have a bit of a reality check in our country. Politicians always talk about values when often they set the standards very low themselves, and many Australians still believe the urban myth of fair go and that we are the best country in the world.
As someone who was born in the Netherlands, where I lived for 19 years, and who lived in Germany for 13 years, before migrating to Australia 35 years ago, I have often been staggered by the racism, ignorance and lack of tolerance of many Australians. There is no doubt in my mind that Australia is more racist than those two countries.
The difference between the countries is that many Australians only tolerate foreigners and different cultures while the two European countries I lived in actually accept and respect migrants for what they are. That is a big difference we in Australia still need to work on.
The cute thing about it all is that all these bogans who get drunk on Friday night and eat kebabs, curries and fish&chips don’t realise they are eating Hahal food often prepared by Muslims.
Migrants from all over the world generously contribute to Australia. They volunteer in community groups, schools, mosques, churches, sporting clubs, etc. and their respect for their new country and involvement with their community makes up for their lack of English language skills.
My own personal experience travelling the world has been that most people are good, caring, compassionate, hospitable and law-abiding, but that there are morons and criminals in every culture and religion.
Accepting and respecting difference should be one of Australia’s core values because it enriches all of us and we should welcome those who want to commit themselves to become new Australians.
Two conflicting reports in the media today with the West Australian reporting the City of Fremantle missed the deadline to announce a date for the January citizenship ceremony, while the Fremantle Herald reports it will be held on January 26 at the Town hall, after the Federal Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke refused Fremantle to hold it on any other day in January, not even on Sunday the 29th during the Fremantle Arts Centre courtyard music session.
Enough has been said about Australia Day but I’d like to say to the Assistant Minister that great politicians find solutions and compromises, but his stand shows that he is just a power-hungry little man with a my way or the highway attitude that is unbecoming to a minister of the crown. No wonder the Liberal government is failing to make a significant impact with mediocre politicians like Alex Hawke.
The federal Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke has forbidden Fremantle Council to conduct a citizenship ceremony on January 28 during the One Day in Fremantle family concert with John Butler, Mama Kin and others, because he considers the concert to be a political event.
I believe Fremantle should throw it back in the face of the ass minister and his righteous Liberal government and now hold the citizenship ceremony on Sunday the 29th before or after the traditional courtyard music session at the Fremantle Arts Centre, and let’s throw a prawn or 100 on the barbie and show how Freo celebrates our history and multiculturalism!
It is very disappointing that Federal and State Liberal party politicians are politicising the City of Fremantle’s decision to have an Australia day event on January 28 and not on the 26th.
The claim that new citizens would be denied being sworn in on the 26th is pretty shallow, since they have only had that opportunity since 1994, the day Australia Day was introduced.
I was sworn in as an Australian citizen on December 19, 1985 and don’t feel I missed out on anything because the extreme significance of changing one’s citizenship is a whole lot bigger than the date it happens on.
Changing nationality is a huge step for anyone, and for me and my German partner it also meant we had to hand back our European passports as the Netherlands and Germany did not permit dual citizenship at that time. That’s a huge step and decision to make!
I have been going to the Fremantle citizenship ceremony for years and will attend no matter what day it is on because I know it is quite an emotional day for many who take the big step, but the importance of becoming a new citizen of this country is lost on most Australians as hardly any attend the ceremonies and mainly friends, family, colleagues and a few politicians turn up for it.
Personally I would like to see more substance at citizenship ceremonies with a prominent Fremantle migrant talking about what it means to become Australian and an Aboriginal elder explaining the significance of Walyalup and the Noongar people.
I find it disappointing that politicians who are keen on scoring cheap points before the March W.A. election believe a 22 year-old tradition is more significant than showing respect for a 50,000 year-old culture. That does not seem the right priority to me.
For Premier Colin Barnett and others to say Fremantle might ban Christmas because it would upset Muslims is absurd, ridiculous and stupid, and it shows the Premier is desperately trying to attract votes from the right wing and One Nation voters.
Christmas has been a religious celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ for hundreds of years all over the world, while Australia Day has only been celebrated for 22 years and is based on the invasion by the British of what is now New South Wales.
Those who want fireworks can still see them at the Fishing Boat Harbour on the 26th or go to Perth for the huge event there, and on January 28 we can all enjoy a great concert on the Fremantle Esplanade to celebrate our community and multiculturalism. The City of Fremantle offers us a choice!
I find it quite amusing to read that the Federal Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke has threatened Fremantle Council that the government could revoke Fremantle’s ability to conduct citizenship ceremonies because it will no longer have an event on Australia Day on January 26, but instead a big concert on January 28.
The Ass. Minister said council could not politicise the national celebrations of Australia Day.
Citizenship ceremonies all over Australia are held on days other than Australia day, so I see no reason why the City of Fremantle should be forced to hold one on January 26.
I would also like to know how many WA councils and shires celebrate Australia Day with events other than citzenship ceremonies. Has anyone in the commercial mass media bothered to check?
Fremantle welcomed many new citizens on Australia Day at the ceremony on the Esplanade and also recognised the achievements of local people and groups in the Premier’s Active Citizenship Awards.
It probably was no surprise that the very active and successful Rethink The Link received the group award but some people were surprised that Adin Lang got the individual one as he stood for Cockburn Council at the May election. There were a couple of people who thought I did not deserve the award when I received it in 2013, and with so many active and deserving people in our community I am sure it is hard for the committee to please everyone.
It was relatively quiet in Fremantle yesterday compared to previous years and I believe it is time to rethink the way Freo celebrates our national day.
Today we celebrate Australia Day and the achievements of our nation and I will be at the Fremantle Esplanade for the citizenship ceremony that is so life-changing for those of us who come from foreign countries and commit ourselves to our new home.
Australia Day is also invasion day, the day where foreigners forcefully occupied the land that indigenous people had looked after for some 50,000 years. It was the start of racism in this country when white people believed they were superior to those ‘black savages’ and ignored their culture and knowledge of the land. Racism is still a daily occurrence for Aboriginal people and others with a dark skin because some ignorant white people believe they are better just because of the colour of their skin. A woman on Facebook even suggested “These Aboriginals should go back to the country they came from.” I think that shows the intelligence of racists.
It is good to celebrate Australia’s achievement but January 26 is just not the right day for it. I hope that once we become a republic Australia Day will be celebrated on the day of our independence from England.
Australia is a good country and it has been very good to me since I arrived here in 1982. I love living in Fremantle where we are more like a family than a community. We care, share, participate and try to make a difference and we all in our own way want to make this a better place.
I love it that we have such a peaceful and harmonious multicultural society. Those who become Australian citizens today should know that Fremantle people are very tolerant and embracing and that we welcome you with open arms and will support you whenever we can.
Every year on Australia Day people claim this is the greatest country on earth but that of course is nonsense as there is no best country on the planet. We are doing well but are less than perfect and there is a lot of room for improvement.
A rich country that still has so many homeless and poor people, where many indigenous people live in third-world conditions, where the disabled and aged are struggling to get by, and where real equality between women and men is a long way away, cannot claim to be the best country in the world.
A country that refuses to approve same gender marriage and that believes that real love can only be between people of opposite sex is not the best country on earth, because it shows Australia is still holding on to old archaic values and is yet to move on to become a genuine progressive nation that embraces change and tolerates diversity.
Australia is a country of immense opportunity for those who live and come here but the gap between the very rich and very poor is growing and that needs to be addressed as a priority. Corporate greed is no substitute for culture and substance and high-rise buildings are no substitute for old-growth forests.
Life is all about balance and willingness to share and I believe we can achieve that in Australia, so instead of getting pissed on this special day and waste money on grog why not ask someone less fortunate to join you today for a real Aussie BBQ or picnic and show them we don’t take our fellow Aussies for granted.
Have a happy Australia Day, Fremantle!
Unlike some politicians I don’t often engage in self promotion or do selfies. I did not even show you my hand, I badly cut at the markets yesterday. But last year’s Australia Day was very special to me, as I was awarded the Fremantle Citizen of the Year 2012. I wonder who it will be this year, and will be at the Esplanade today to take photos of the City of Fremantle festivities.
The decisions to become an Australian citizen is a huge one for everybody, no matter for what reasons one migrated here, and it can be quite emotional for those involved. Welcome to everyone who becomes, or already became, a new Aussie today!
And congratulations to the Walyalup Reconciliation Group who today became the City of Melville Group of the Year. I was a member at the early start of that group with people like Marie Thorne and Morgan Morris, and it is still going strong.
Next weekend is a long one to celebrate Australia Day, so get ready to party, Fremantle! Kidogo Arthouse and Kelp Bar at Bathers Beach will have a VIP party with live broadcast by Blackers, Carmen and Fitzi from 6 pm and with live music by Tom Fisher& the Layabouts.
The very exclusive party costs $ 110.00 for adults and $ $ 82.50 for children and that includes yummy food created by Hidden Pantry and a complimentary drink on arrival. The bar will be open for more drinks to toast Aussie Day and our great Freo lifestyle.
The City of Fremantle has the traditional Oz Day citizenship festivities on The Esplanade from 3 pm, with live music, entertainment and stalls, and of course the great fireworks at 8 pm.
Sure, Australia Day is an important day for our nation, and one we celebrate in style in Fremantle, with the Bathers Bay fireworks and the citizenship ceremony on the Esplanade, but does it really need two full-page and one half-page advertisements in the Fremantle Gazette today?
I always try to attend the ceremony and entertainment on the Esplanade, as becoming a citizen of a new country is very special. Australia Day has become even more special to me since I was awarded the Premier’s Fremantle Citizen of the Year 2012 during the celebrations last year. I am still over the moon for having received that recognition for my community work.
But three huge ads in one issue of a community newspaper to promote the event is way over the top.
The FIREWORKS will be at 8 pm and the CELEBRATIONS are from 3 pm with entertainment by Matt Gresham, Amanti Consort, Gina Williams with Guy Ghouse, Iron Bark, Wasamba, and Kart Koort Wiern.