‘New Australians’ Wanted, not just Migrants

We were discussing immigration. I can’t remember the exact words but one of my number at lunch was saying that we needed a bigger Australia to defend ourselves. A worthy point. But someone responded. Defend who? He asked, pointedly. And, in my view, insightfully.

You might have to think about it. Just take a little leap into the future of this increasingly multiracial, multicultural, polyglot nation. Now think of Churchill’s speech:We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” No doubt who the ‘we’ were. The ‘we’ were men and women of Britain. Thirty-two years later Gough spoke to “men and woman of Australia.” He didn’t need to say that we are many but we are one. We knew ‘we’ were one.

Since then Australia, along with most Western countries, has brought in millions upon millions of people with different traditions and loyalties, often starkly different. It’s not clear to me that the collective ‘we’ will continue to have the same currency as in the past.

Mostly when I talk apprehensively about the composition of our flawed immigration policy, I have Muslims foremost in mind. Nothing against people, as individuals, who happen to be Muslim, by the way. It’s the hateful scripture and religious ideology that spawn supremacist, radical intolerant and discriminatory attitudes that bothers me. But for that everything would be hunky-dory.

However, this time around I am not banging on about Muslim immigration specifically, but about the sheer numbers of immigrants from the non-Western parts of the world. Yes, I admit it, ‘the other’ makes me apprehensive when they are coming in very large numbers. I insist that I am not xenophobic. I simply like our way of life. And I also believe that our cohesiveness is a strength in times of distress and peril. Diversity I am not so sure about. I’m with Honest Abe: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

It’s inevitable that a large-scale immigration will include people with different traditions and loyalties. That’s fine to a point, provided their numbers are small enough to ensure that they will not Balkanise society and will eventually assimilate. Those who believe in globalism are living a myth. Whenever people get the chance they gravitate to their own kind. This does not change by stuffing them into tight geographical proximity. And, it particularly doesn’t change if separate groupings are large enough and culturally distinct enough to form ongoing separate societies within society at large.

The latest available immigration figures (for 2016-17)[i] show that the net intake of both permanent and “temporary” migrants was 262,000 (rounded). A supplementary set of tables (you have to look for them) shows migration by country. I laboriously added up migrants from countries with a Western tradition. I was expansive including, for example, migrants from south and central America, from Hong Kong and Singapore, and from Eastern Europe. I found the numbers summed to around 78,000. This leaves 184,00 from, shall we say, elsewhere.

China bulked largest, at a little over 50,000. India was a close second at over 49,000. Pakistan supplied 7,000. Nepal came in at near to 15,000. Who knew? Over 27,000 came from North African and the Middle Eastern countries (e.g., Iraq 9,801, Syria 8,170). The UK, incidentally, came in at a relatively paltry 10,690. Long gone are the days when the UK supplied more migrants than did any other country.

When I first arrived in Australia 1965 my second job was in a small departmental office of a company which made and repaired petrol pumps. There were about twelve of us: four migrants and eight Aussies. There was English me, and guys born in Italy, Holland and Lithuania. I remember the Lithuanian taking a day off to go spit at the Russian ambassador who was visiting Sydney. Another thing I remember is that there was no question of us melding into Australian society. None at all. My three fellow migrants, who had been in Australia for much longer than I, were as much a part of Australia, its values and culture, as were the homegrown Aussies.

Immigration cannot be just a numbers game. These days apparently you can discriminate on the basis of skills, on family connections and on a range of other criteria but not on country of origin or culture. Avoiding ghettos should be brought into the equation as an objective. This would inevitably lead to country-of-origin and specific-culture limits (sometimes set at zero). ‘We’ are rapidly running out of time; if it is not already too late. Of course, there will still be an Australia in name. It just won’t seem as sweet.

[i] 3412.0 – Migration, Australia, 2016-17 

7 thoughts on “‘New Australians’ Wanted, not just Migrants

  • Julian says:


    For the moronic economist types (i.e. the ones in treasury, the banks, retails etc who actually run things) it doesn’t matter if the next 100,000 ‘new Australians’ are European, African, Chinese, etc as they are all basically atomised individual consumers (who possess no culture, natural ties, etc) who’ll increase GDP by xxxxx % – happy days.

    For the Left, importing 100,000 poorer people from the 3rd world would actually be more virtuous than say importing 100,000 Italians, Brits, French, Hungarians, Greeks, etc who’ll actually fit in better, make a contribution, etc.

    Both groups are equally moronic, but I fear it’s the 1st group who actually run things and do more damage, in spite of the volume of some of those on the Left (especially here in Victoria ‘the most progressive state’)

    But, hey, with Mr Shorten in office we may get more of the latter too. God help us.

  • padraic says:

    I agree, Peter, with your comment that “Immigration cannot be just a numbers game”. There is a cultural dimension to immigration as well. This is never discussed. There should be a frank discussion on the cultural aspects, particularly when the social values of immigrants clash with those of Australians. Language is also important. Priority should be given to migrants from the English-speaking Commonwealth countries plus the USA and countries who share our Western and/or Christian values, such as EU countries. Muslim countries, with their history of warfare over the centuries against Christian countries (and persecute their Christian and other minorities) should be down on the list, as well as countries who insist that the migrant should have as their first allegiance their country of origin. That’s a good start, but among Commonwealth countries with the English language and similar forms of government and judiciary there are other social values that can impact on the egalitarian nature of Australian society. Those egalitarian values were forged over 200 years. Many migrants come from highly stratified societies where the gap between the rich and poor is enormous and one social class will have contempt for those whom they consider their social inferior. This attitude persists initially when they come to Australia and certain Australians get looked down on. Everyone views migration as how we Australians think of migrants, but no-one discusses what migrants think of us. A well known Labor identity (and many others) of migrant parentage is always saying “We are a nation of migrants”. Well, sister, I am not a migrant, I am a native Australian with no connection to the countries of my distant ancestors. Many do not accept that we actually have a distinct culture and that we can be patriotic. Among many others the “convict stain” is alive and well. In the 50’s at least half of my school class were from migrant families and those boys had no problem integrating and becoming in many cases prominent and respected Australian citizens. The Australian boys saw them as just other students with the same hopes and aspirations as us and sharing our Australian values, and bonding through sport etc. But that can only happen if the host nation is not swamped by migrants as is now the case. It takes time to absorb migrants into a wider society and it has to be a conscious activity backed by suitable policies. The numbers need to be reduced and better targeted. One cannot deny the original migrant their feelings about where they were born and their experiences there and they can often contribute new ideas to our culture originating from those experiences. For example, Australian diets have improved in variety since migration began in earnest after WW2. However, the education system should be designed to integrate the children of migrants into Australian society and make them proud to be Australian. This is not happening. At the “grandparents’ day” concerts of my grandchildren this is not happening. The teachers struck me as “multicultural” zealots putting kids in ethnic boxes in the various acts, even if the family had been in Australia for several generations, making out that there is no such thing as an “Australian”.. I have nothing against migrants forming social clubs as they did after the war, but these were informal organisations and not like the present day ghettos complete with a “spokesman”. I saw the same informal socialising among Australian expatriates in Earls Court in the 60s. When people left their clubs they went back into the wider community as citizens of our community where they spoke English and interacted with Australians. These days migrants can live in their multicultural ghettos and never have to speak English. So, I think it is time we had a proper discussion on where we want to end up with migration and how to achieve it.

  • Mr Johnson says:

    Walking around the shopping centres at Christmas time with my family I now see armed guards, vigilant police, concrete bollards, and feel the fog of apprehension in the air. Let’s face it, when the politicians said we won’t let terrorism change our lives, they lied. And saying ‘we want immigration lowered’ is just a polite but circuitous way of saying: please, no more of those guys who want to kill us.

  • Bushranger71 says:

    Bravo Peter! I am on song with your theme. No offence intended though by my following input.
    Disagree re charlatan Churchill and some of his fake speeches delivered by another entity. The Brits are still keeping files closed so ‘their finest hour’ myth does not get tarnished.
    My 1800s origins were paternally French married into Irish and maternally English of about same vintage. In my 81 years, I have travelled the world widely and worked with Brits in a couple of countries; although not again by choice (nor with New Zealanders).
    Worldwide I have noted the tendency for those of mature age UK origin to reside in countries where they can have an enjoyable lifestyle and advantage government benevolence.
    In 2016, I was deterred from final home buying at Mornington Victoria where I grew up during WW2. I discovered that affluent Brits (and others) on visas were buying fine established family homes on quarter acre allotments, ripping them down and building maybe 4 small footprint townhouses, flogging off 3 and retaining one that they might occupy for 6 months of each year.
    The Australian Government deliberately entices people with money to immigrate to the country, but what does that do for workforce statistics and loading on the health system?
    The immigration diaspora has already shot Australia’s national integrity, being compounded of course by the globalist throng seeking to advantage national benevolence. A growing component of the population would likely relocate elsewhere in the world if more demanding national commitment obligations were applicable.
    Any belief that an increased population provides greater defence capacity is pure fallacy.
    Average length of service for Australian military personnel is less than 9 years and ADF recruiting is failing for multiple reasons.
    In 2015, the CO of my old fighter squadron was a Brit, also the CO at the RAAF Flying Training School. At 3 following luncheons, I sat with recently recruited former RAF pilots. A month back, one of them said to me: ‘Young Australians do not want to be Air Force pilots anymore.’
    Recruiting is only the tip of some very big icebergs in the defence realm.
    The major political parties will not allow debate of course, but Australia remaining a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and staying welded to the US Alliance are crucial issues that affect our national standing regionally.
    Australia really does not have an identifiable national posture and until British and American hegemonies are shed, it will not achieve regional respect.
    Who wants to be identified as Australian if we are just seen as Anglo-American puppets?

  • padraic says:

    In the 1800s, Bushranger, when your ancestors came out things were much different and integration was easier because they usually never went back and the children grew up only knowing the wide brown land that shaped their lives. Mine came out in the large migration wave in the 1850s and 1860s after the transportation of the cheap labour of convicts ceased. They integrated into the local culture developed by freed convicts and earlier settlers and in doing so altered it. They came out on sailing ships which took weeks to get here and never went back nor did they have the urge (or possibly the money) to go back and so they adapted quickly. My father used to say in the 40s that it took several generations “to make an Australian”. These days it is a different paradigm. Modern migrants can fly home in a few hours or communicate daily by phone, internet etc. They stay connected. That is why I said in the earlier post that we need a new approach to integration – the old system of “osmosis” over relatively short time won’t work. Even the Egyptian president realises there are problems. So I hope that our government can come up with an approach to immigration that is not just economics based but also takes into consideration the cultural need to integrate.

  • Bushranger71 says:

    Hi padraic. Concur your thoughts re early immigrants and, importantly, their (our) somewhat isolated situation fostered a sense of loyalty to land of residency as the nation grew.
    These days, loyalty is almost a lost attribute, as evidenced by corrupt political and corporate behaviour and the self-interest exhibited by younger generations.
    Why has this happened? Cause and effect. A flawed federation model has generated dysfunctional governance and multiple shortcomings follow.
    Also; Australia was under British hegemonic influence for so long and now is effectively a vassal US State that we do not have a clearly unique national identity.
    Add to that the unfettered multicultural immigration over the past 50 or so years and a globalist throng push to advantage economic benevolence and national integrity has become totally fractured.
    The primary purpose of anybody emigrating to Australia is economic and just how they can benefit personally will be of paramount importance.
    In an era when multiple citizenships are permitted, why commit to permanency in a particular country if the flexibility exists to relocate if circumstances change?
    It is fairly clear that Canberra is not prepared to be tough enough on English language requirements to encourage broader assimilation of immigrants, so the growing populace will only become more fragmented.
    It hurts to say it again, but methinks the nation is beyond repair.

  • Robinoz says:

    It seems that those who sell “stuff” want huge immigration because it increases consumption and supports the crazy Keynesian economic expansion theory. Labor/Greens want huge numbers of welfare dependent voters. Neither apparently gives no thought to societal adhesion, infrastructure, public services or anything else but their profit and votes.

    The UN loves this approach; if you flood a culture with a hundred other cultures, eventually you don’t have a prevailing culture – no Nationalism and it makes it so much easier to just move in and take over since nobody is going to protect a nation that isn’t really theirs. No borders, no genders, no nothing but One World rule, isn’t that the aim of the United Nations?

    It seems to be working well to date.

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