ALP's multicultural policy contradictory and flawed
17th February 2011

In the comment piece below and on the ABC's The Drum Unleashed I argue that the ALP's multicultural policy is contradictory and flawed.

Values, freedoms and multiculturalism: you can't have it all

When I wrote the comment piece recently published on the Drum Unleashed titled ‘Australia, it’s Western, Christian and proud’ I was attacked for being prejudiced, biased, Eurocentric and, apparently, the worst criticism of all, for being Christian.

I wonder what my critics make of Minister Bowen’s speech on multiculturalism given at the Sydney Institute in which he argues, as reported in The Australian, “If there is any inconsistency between these cultural values (those of different cultures) and the values of individual freedom and the rule of law, then these traditional Australian values win out”.

Bowen goes on to say, when arguing that Australia’s experience of multiculturalism is not as destructive as the European experience, “We are not a guest-worker society. Rather, people who share respect for democratic beliefs, laws and rights are welcome to join us as full partners with equal rights”.

At the same time as channelling One Nation, by emphasising the need for migrants to respect and follow “traditional Australian values”, Minister Bowen also talks about the “genius of Australian multiculturalism” and he has announced a raft of policies to appease Australia’s multicultural industry and to prove to the Balmain basket weavers and the Carlton latte set that celebrating difference and diversity is back on the Government’s agenda.

Bowen cannot have it both ways. Multiculturalism, taken to its logical conclusion, is a policy that promotes cultural relativism on the basis that all cultural practices are of equal worth and ethnic groups have the right to maintain their way of life.

In England and Europe the policy has led to ghettos of ethnic violence, loss of social cohesion and stability and what the Australian Robert Hughes terms the balkanisation of society.

Any suggestion that those who come to live in Australia must assimilate is unacceptable and anyone who argues that the morals and beliefs associated with Western civilisation and Christianity should be given priority are howled down as racists and bigots.

One only need to remember the Cronulla riots and the fact that some parts of western Sydney and Melbourne’s Dandenong are a no-go zone because of ethnic gangs to identify the dark side of multiculturalism.

Ask social workers and nurses at many of our public hospitals in Sydney and Melbourne about how Muslim wives and daughters are treated by their husbands and fathers and it’s also clear that some of those following Islam are both chauvinist and misogynist.

It’s understandable why Minister Bowen and the Gillard Government, after ignoring the issue for so long, have reasserted multiculturalism as a key policy. With the ALP’s inner-city base being eroded by the Greens, the party needs to flag, notwithstanding its hard line illegal refugee policy, that it is still the party of the left.

While both Rudd and Gillard, as prime ministers, have sought the middle ground in Australian politics, copying much of the Howard government’s economic and social policies, the realisation has finally dawned that if the ALP is to survive it must differentiate itself and give the true believers a reason to vote Labor.

It’s also no secret that much of the Labor Party’s branch stacking relies on ethnic enclaves and that many ALP politicians owe their political careers to ethnic warlords. What better way to get their support than by channelling funds and patronage via multicultural grants and board appointments.

On one hand Bowen applauds multiculturalism, on the other hand he argues that those who come to live here must accept, “traditional Australian values” and “our democratic beliefs, laws and rights”. You cannot have it both ways.

Postscript: At a time when the proposed national history curriculum uncritically celebrates and gives priority to diversity and difference (code for multiculturalism) one wonders whether Minister Bowen will ensure that the new curriculum gives proper coverage to “traditional Australian values” and “our democratic way of life”.

 

 

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ALP's multicultural policy contradictory and flawed
17th February 2011
In the comment piece below and on the ABC's The Drum Unleashed I argue that the ALP's multicultural policy is contradictory and flawed.Values, freedoms and multiculturalism: you can't have it all ...

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