READER: Integration, assimilation should be gold standard

DOUG Belot's claims in TMB Letter to the Editor (click here) not to be Islamaphobic are contradictory.

Having taken my family to live in London for a year just prior to their riots, I can attest to the consequences of a generous welfare state practising an open immigration policy. It loses its cultural soul.

This is a political decision the British made themselves. If they don't like the result, they have only themselves to blame.

London's East End has changed colour literally, with massive numbers living on generous welfare (even by Australian standards).

Who can blame the immigrants, going from terrible poverty to free housing, free health and dental, generous dole and child support? All are welcome.

Of course, uncontrolled immigration of people from an entirely different religion and culture is going to make huge changes to the core and often incompatible values of the host country. Did the Israelites adopt the religion and culture of the people they found in the "Promised Land"?

Of course Mr Belot's views are Islamaphobic. Given his very right-wing views often published in TMB (see November 21), I'm not sure why he would be worried about it.

A far better question would be, do 12,000 very well screened Syrian refugees amount to uncontrolled, open-door immigration? I don't think so.

Personally, I think Australia's immigration policy is well-controlled and balanced. I think we have to do some fine-tuning. We should not have to imprison children, torture, rape and kill asylum seekers over years in order to deter boat arrivals. This is not the Australian way.

It is time to nuance these controls, but not abolish them.

Similarly, it is time to tweak some of our resettlement practices. Integration and assimilation should be our "gold standard".

High concentrations of people in one suburb all maintaining a different language, culture and some religious practices is a problem. Add high unemployment and welfare dependence and this is the "lead standard" that is causing a lot of problems in Europe.

We should be very cautious when invoking the sacrifice of our "Diggers" in WWI and II. Many of the values they may have been fighting for have now been rightly rejected by our modern, much fairer society.

Aboriginal Diggers were not welcome in many RSLs and pubs on their return and few were granted soldier resettlement plots. Women were patronised and discriminated against in all walks of life. Homosexual activity was criminal. Cultural change of even core values over time is sometimes a good thing, but it needs to be a gradual community-wide evolution.

Mr Belot says we are giving away what they fought for. I don't see our generosity to 12,000 refugees is doing that at all, quite the reverse in fact. Apart from being a little confused at how we now treat Aborigines and women, I think they would be proud of our generosity.

The threat of terrorism in Australia is greatly, even hysterically overstated. Our security agencies are doing a great job. There is a far greater risk of being attacked by a shark than a jihadist. Nearly all the terrorists in recent European attacks have had European nationalities. Well-screened refugees are not the problem.

It is very important we keep things in perspective. Far better to put effort and support into something like changing our organ donation laws to save some Aussie lives.

Shane Newell


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