This is an extensive excerpt from Nick Cater’s column in today’s Australian. An absolute MUST read…
“…Never before in Australia’s happy and successful history of migration has the threat of separatism seemed so acute or so visible on the streets of our capital cities.
Once migrants would have felt uncomfortable going about their daily business in national dress. Yet parts of Sydney and Melbourne have become lands of the long white robe, not to mention the even more confronting burka.
These are the outward signs of a diaspora that feels no obligation to fit in without fuss and instead transports its own conventions to a distant corner of the globe and wears them as a badge of identity.
Thanks to the internet and satellite television they remain part of the community they left behind, relying less on friendship and cultural ties in Australia.
This is not immigration as we know it but transnationalism, in which the new arrival draws support from a self-contained cultural community that strongly asserts its own identity and would, if it could, operate under its own laws.
It is an existence with a conflicted sense of belonging and place, in which citizenship serves as a flag of convenience rather than a pledge of loyalty.
Humanitarian category migrants who arrived by boat are different from other migrants in important respects: 24 per cent of men and 67 per cent of women had never been in paid employment; 33 per cent of men and 44 per cent of women had never spoken English; 17 per cent of men and 23 per cent of women were illiterate in their own language. Unsurprisingly, they have struggled to find a job, to access government services or to make small talk with their Australian neighbours.
It is their good fortune to arrive in a country that grants not just shelter but a fair go. Yet, held back by limited capacity, it’s hardly surprising if they seek the comfort of a cultural enclave from which they need never emerge.
Is this a problem? The (Productivity) commission thinks so.
“To the extent that immigrants’ intent to integrate is decreasing, it raises an important issue about whether this provides scope for separatism that conflicts with, and/or has the ability to undermine, key norms and longstanding understandings that are important to the functioning of Australian society and that are valued by many,” it concludes.
A nervous government would leave this bombshell of a report hidden in the bottom drawer, call community leaders in for a cup of tea and exchange pleasantries.
A wiser course would be to think again about a model of multiculturalism that badly shows its age; one that predates the internet, the mass arrival of asylum-seekers on our shores and the rise of an assertive religious ideology.
Hanson is justified in sensing the vulnerability of the Australian way of life. But the threat is not a surfeit of Islam, it’s the failure of integration..” Swamped by outdated multicultural model