The Australian government’s rather moderate attempts to strengthen national and social cohesion and identity — such as recently renaming the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and proposing toughening up citizenship tests somewhat — were the subject of a bizarre attack in the International Herald Tribune last January 28.
Written by one Tim Johnson, the article starts by claiming that: “Prime Minister John Howard has always had reservations about the concept of multiculturalism….he has led the country for more than 11 years …”
I would have thought the International Herald Tribune employed fact-checkers. John Howard became Prime Minister of Australia on 11 March, 1996, less than 11 years ago. The article continues:
“In the past he has made significant gains at the ballot box by appealing to the insecurities of middle Australia, particularly over immigration. Migrants constitute a relatively small part of his coalitionâ€™s support.”
No evidence for these statements is provided. And there is in fact no evidence that Australians voted for John Howard primarily because of his alleged appeal to “insecurity.” Good economic management, high levels of economic growth and employment, and low inflation may have had something to do with his coalition government’s consistently winning elections. Of course, it may have been inconsiderate of Bin Laden towards the left-of-center Labor Party to stage 9/11 shortly before the 2001 Australian election, which Howard won, but most people do not see that as Howard’s doing. Recent surveys suggest that middle-class and professional people of immigrant background actually tend to support the coalition more than they support Labor.
Johnson himself, with no apparent regard for consistency of argument, points out that 25% of Australia’s population were born overseas, so the coalition could not possibly win elections without very substantial immigrant support. In any case, Australia is an immigrant nation, and until now has had an outstanding record of settling waves of migrants peacefully and without trouble.
The article continues: “The debate [over multiculturalism and citizenship] became more than academic in December 2005. A mob of white Australian youths, incensed by what they saw as sexual harassment of women and violent behavior by groups of Australian Lebanese youths, gathered on a south Sydney beach and went on a rampage, beating up anyone they could find of Middle Eastern appearance. The riots left deep scars on the national psyche.”
Note the phrase “what they saw as sexual harassment” with the insinuation that this perception was false. Actually it was sexual harassment, including racially and religiously-motivated gang rapes by Muslim youths of mainly Lebanese and Pakistani background, and it had been going on and getting worse for a long time, with Australian families and other migrants, including Lebanese Christians, being targeted and driven out of whole areas.
Without condoning the riots, it is correct to say that they were the result of aggressive and on-going provocation. Nothing similar had occurred before in post-war Australia.
The father of four Pakistani-born gang-rapists said of the Australian rape-victims: “What do they expect to happen to them? Girls from Pakistan don’t go out at night.”
The North Sydney riots began on a hot day on the beach when Australian beach-goers finally retaliated after months of provocation, including insults to the Australian flag as well as continuing harassment of swimsuit-clad Australian girls. Before that, Australians of all ethnicities had been using the beach peacefully for a couple of hundred years. As for the phrase “the riot left deep scars on the national psyche,” the use of such loaded but meaningless, pseudo-mystical, pseudo-psychological, nonsense jargon speaks for itself. What is a “national psyche”? How can “deep scars” on it be measured? What sub-editor let such a pointless cliche by?
While the article refers to “groups of Australian Lebanese youths” the point is omitted that Lebanese Christians have settled peacefully and successfully in Australia and have never been identified as a group with violence, harassment and sexual assaults. They have contributed some outstanding business, community and professional leaders to the country.
The article further claims that many migrants (but with numbers and ethnicity unspecified) think that: “…the Australian flag and nationalism have been hijacked by white Australians of European extraction …” A correspondent on the blog run by Australian journalist and nemesis of leftist cant Tim Blair noted of this: “Excuse me, but I thought we ‘White Aussies of European extraction’ actually settled and developed Australia under the British and then Australian flags.”p>The article continues: br>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online