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Multi-culturism: A Winner or Not in Australia?

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Much debate is currently going on within Australian society about multi-culturism and whether or not it has worked. Before expressing my views and observations, let me explain where I am coming from.

As someone who conducts more real estate auctions than any other auctioneer in Sydney, Australia’s largest city (where some 33.6% of the population were born overseas and have emigrated here), literally on a daily basis I am dealing very personally with people from most nations on earth, and who are my vendors or buyers.

Through this experience, allied with the fact that I see right inside their personal lives through inspecting their homes, I feel I have a rather unique insight into Australian society.

And my conclusion?

That multi-culturism has, on the main, been a great success here in Australia.

That it has can, I think, be put down to Australia’s probably unique virtually classless society where all are treated as equals until shown otherwise (which is why the rat bag element, no matter what political angle they are coming from, are regarded as irrelevant) and that our tradition of “a fair go for all” is still pretty well intact although recent events may convey a different view.

Australia is still a country where someone can either arrive here, or be born here, with no material goods or possessions yet, through a combination of good luck and a solid work ethic (amazing how the luckiest in life always seem to be the hardest workers, eh?) can get a head in life a built a solid asset base for their family and themselves.

Add to that our wonderful climate and it is little wonder so many are looking at The Land Down Under with envy and here lies the coming problem.

Multi-culturism has worked here, where it hasn’t in other countries (France being a prime example), because peoples of the same nationality or background just moved to the same area and the problems they lefty behind manifest themselves again there in that country.

In Australia, up until now, immigrants were absorbed into the community as a whole so a street could have native non-Australians being neighbours with people from Greece, Italy, Vietnam, wherever. Through this process, both the newcomers and those already here came to learn of each other and understand not only the differences, but also what Australian life entailed and what “our” expectations of our citizens were.

Because of the innate Australian “larrikin” makeup, no doubt due to the laconic sense of humour that likely can be traced back to our convict ancestry, many people who “got above themselves” with inflated egos and ostentatious behaviour were rapidly put back in their place and likewise, those who went about their work and achievements in a modest way, were, and still are, lauded.

Regrettably, mainly I guess due to the influence of television, many of our youth who are short on self-esteem (parents, how about you start getting involved here?) are copying the gum-chewing, backwards-sitting baseball cap rap style and then wondering why they arer alienating themsleves further within Australian society.

I am of an age that I can remember when ”take away food” comprised fish and chips wrapped in newspaper and the arrival of the first hamburgers onto café menus.

If multi-culturism does not, or has not worked, how come then Australians ravish such feeds as kebabs, bok-choy, cappuccinos, sushi rolls, etc., etc?

Multi-culturism is giving, as it did America in its early days, the hybrid vigour to Australia to forge ahead and build a unique society. What we need is politicians to stop creating mayhem, let our larrikin mateship take hold in newcomers and as we say here in Australia, ”she’ll be right mate!”

Carpe diem.

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About Anthony Fountain

  • Anthony Fountain

    G’day Colleen,

    I agree the rise in crime is disturbing and it need to be combatted from the word go.

    I believe the root cause is both boredom, unemployment and mixing with the “wrong people” in that community.

    So often immigrants have seen life as starkly as few Australians will and I hope, never see and it seems to me that immigrants, when first coming here, would be far better off being placed in rural communities instead of what are near ghettos in somme cases, in the cities.

    Out there, and I know fro first hand experience, they are welcomed into the communities, are (normally) given understanding over what they have endured.

    They are also introduced to what I would call the “Australian way of life and values” instead of the narrow mindedness and bigotry often exhibited in city communities.

    As a lovely father of one of my Lebanese desended friends commented to me years ago “don’t worry, Australia will corrupt (in a non criminal sense) anyone within two generations”.

    If you don’t believe that, look now at the descendants of the 1970’s Vietnamese boat people! Ridgy didge Aussies (in the main).


  • Colleene Land

    No dissagreement with your outlook, as a matter of fact, if everyone had that attitude, multiculturalism would definately work, and to a kajor extent it is as you say. Aussie’s gert on with their everday business and can’t be bothered with racial expression. I agree we want to accept any immigrant that comes to this country – HOWEVER the otherside to this debate is the growing racial gang crime. Some of the most vicious and racially motivated crimes, are being committed every week somewhere. Australian wide you can say that is daily and ststistics prove it is on the increase and even the Police Commissioner Palmer stated this numerious times. on different media outlets. Is he imagining what he say, which is based on fact or is society putting their heads in the sand, oblivious the the readings of the koran, stating in 123 passages, that death to all infidels, non belivers in their faith. It is there today. When are we going to wake up to the ever increasing threat this particular religion has world wide – is it just a matter of time before eruptions start, in ways this country has never experienced. Then, unarmed by law, we are sitting ducks. And talking about ducks, if it looks like one , quacks like one , it normally is a bludy duck. It is written for us to read, yet we don’t. We don’t want to even think like this because we never have. Good luck to the bleeding heart liberals that won’t even read it to see the threat. Just go on line and read their ideas and beliefs. I for one, am not worried about the majority at all, however learn the meaning of Jihad. This should pucker your lips just a little regardless to any complacency. Happy to continue.

  • G’day Sea,

    Thanks for the reply.

    Yep, I agree multiculturism is more than just about food but food, its variety and acceptance, is very much a public indication of its acceptance.

    Certainly there are parts of the bigger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne where meighbours do not know each other, mainly in unit development etc, buit my experience has been that when I conduct auctions in the suburbs and the neighbours gather to watch, most seem to acknowledge and know each other.

    You wrote-

    “That said, I’m sorry, but I’m not convinced that “multi-culturalism is working” in Australia. First of all “absorbing” immigrants sounds too much like assimilating as in fitting in at cost to their heritage? And what of the native aboriginal folks? You never mention them. Did they, too, get “absorbed”?”

    Taking each point, yers I do believe we have absorbed them in the main, as has English of other languages but having said that, maintainence of their heritage is still very visible and Australians seem to get a buzz out of attending functions that arer based on landfs far away. Great mixture beer and kebabs!!

    The Aboriginals, and I have dealt with many over the years, ranging from stockman on Northern Territory cattle stations (great blokes with a wonderfully dry sense of humour) to those in country towns who are respected within that community to those whom as tenants in the big cities are feeling the brunt of isolationism and lack of education,are suffering much anguish over this “absorption” as you put it.

    Whilst the press seems to concentrate on the more spectacular aspects of race relations, in reality in tiowns such as Moree, once a hgiot bed of racial trouble,the world is calm and getting ahead because someone had the forsight and humanity to realise that without jobs, all sorts of trouble rears its ugly head and following some great ideas, many people of Aboriginal blood are now gainfully employed and contributing to ther town and their own lives.

    This is not to say all is clear ahead. In fact,that is why I wrote the blog (that appeared originally on my own website (www.rainbowchaser.com.au/login.html) for I believe it is impoprtant that we speak out and say that multiculturism HAS worked here before the PC mob start their chants and swing opnion.

    As for my friends? I count people of native Australian (hell that “native” term is a wank-they are all Australians to me) Lebanese,Chinese,Indian,Assyrian,Italian,Greek,NZ,British,American,South African (the non pompus ones!! lol) descent as amongst my close friends.

    My criteria for friendship is simple. Are they are good bloke (if male lol) or woman and would I welcome them into my home?

    Carpe Diem


  • You go! Keep trying. It’s always good to explore this area. It’s where we as humans, I think, are most confused.

    That said, I’m sorry, but I’m not convinced that “multi-culturalism is working” in Australia. First of all “absorbing” immigrants sounds too much like assimilating as in fitting in at cost to their heritage? And what of the native aboriginal folks? You never mention them. Did they, too, get “absorbed”?

    There’s a lot more to multi-culturalism than sharing a variety of food. Please, can you go a little deeper here? For example, are people just living down the street from each other or are they actually hanging out getting to know each other?

    Does this mean for example, as a white guy, you have many close friends of color? Not to blame you if you don’t, just to encourage you that this would be the gauge I’d use of success.

    By the way, “rap” began as an African protest movement in the United States, careful.