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.
It looks like it is going to be the kind of day to cuddle up with a good book, eat hot soup and enjoy a nice glass of mulled wine, as the clouds are pretty dark and a heavy shower just rolled over Beaconsfield.
I took these two photos in Fremantle port around 6.40 am this morning and it was cold with a strong easterly blowing.
If the clouds break up and the rain stops, or if you are truly dedicated, join the Freo Safe Port refugee rally at Pioneer Park. It starts at noon!
It is nice and crisp in winter and it is very inviting weather to walk around town or do some community work, so why not join the tree planting at Booyeembara Park in White Gum Valley tomorrow, Saturday June 25.
Do some physical work, beautify the area and connect with your community and have a bit of fun. The kids and dogs can run around while you are help planting the future green lungs of Fremantle.
It is on from 9 am till noon.
Also on Saturday from 12 to 2.30 is FREO SAFE HAVEN, help the refugees rally and walk, so join in after the tree planting. It is at Pioneer Park opposite the railway station!
A fund raising photo exhibition, Seeking Asylum in Country: Western Australian Landscapes will be held on Tuesday 14 June from 6 – 9.30pm at PS Arts Space in Pakenham Street, Fremantle.
Thirty landscape photographs will be ‘floating’ in the 600sqm PSAS warehouse/gallery, allowing the viewer to navigate and explore these Western Australian landscapes.
Fourteen WA photographers have donated their works for the silent auction. Proceeds are to be assigned to urgent asylum seeker and refugee needs in WA by Fremantle Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN).
A forum and Q&A with Dr Neville Ellis, Katie West, Kaliyugan Pathmanathan and Gwen Velge will take place at 6:30pm, preceding the opening of the exhibition and silent auction at 7:30 (bids close at 8:45pm).
For enquiries contact Gwen Velge M 0420 364 161 or Leonie Lundy (Fremantle RRAN) M 0439 475 174
Check out the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/events/1107979892592948/
City of Fremantle Councillors, staff and the community will show their support for refugees by marching in the annual Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees this Sunday 20 March.
The group will gather at 11.30 am at Pioneer Park (opposite Fremantle Train Station) and board a train to Perth to join the main event at 1.00 pm outside St George’s Cathedral.
Fremantle councillor and refugee rights advocate Cr Sam Wainwright said the Walk For Justice aimed to shed light on the injustices refugees face when attempting to seek refuge in Australia.
“Overwhelming evidence indicates severe and systemic abuse of asylum seekers’ human rights is occurring within Australia’s immigration processing system,” Cr Wainwright said.
“We’ve seen a recent surge of concern about the conditions in Australia’s offshore detention centres in particular as a result of the impending deportation of 267 asylum seekers. A lot of this attention was focused around the fate of “Baby Asha”, who doctors in Brisbane only agreed to release on the condition she would not be returned to Nauru.
“It’s completely unacceptable to detain people like this and I’m really proud of the actions the Fremantle council has taken recently to help defend the rights and raise the profiles of these innocent people.
“We’re now calling on our famously compassionate local community to stand together to support refugee rights by attending the march with us,” Cr Wainwright said.
A large crowd turned up on Sunday for the annual REFUGEES FIESTA at the Fremantle Esplanade. Whadjuk Nyoongar Elder Theresa Walley gave a welcome to country while Deputy and Acting Mayor Josh Wilson welcomed the people to the city.
There was a drumming circle and food and information stalls and live music entertainment after the march through the inner city.
This welcome to country sign on the ‘wedding wall’ at Fremantle’s Cliff Street is a welcome reminder that Australia embraces multiculturalism and immigration and that we are not a mob of racist bigots. On June 14 the annual Refugees Welcome Fiesta will be on at the Esplanade, so come and say hello to new Australians and get to know them.