Conservatives in this country have made it impossible to have a sensible discussion about anything.
Population is a topic we should be discussing. Infrastructure planning depends on it. Allocation of finite resources depends on it. Town and environmental planning depend on it. Education and training depend on it. Health services depend on it.
Immigration must be part of this discussion.
The statistics show that immigration is good for the economy but it is reasonable to question the effect it is having on employment, housing affordability and urban congestion.
It is also necessary to consider what can be done to assist people to become active and productive participants in the community and to recognise impediments to social cohesion.
Andrew Bolt is one such impediment.
In true Hansonesque style, Bolt has written a column headlined “The foreign invasion”.
Australia is being swamped by non-English-speaking immigrants who refuse to assimilate and accept our values. In the face of this influx we are losing our identity.
Immigration is becoming colonisation, turning this country from a home into a hotel. There is no ‘us’ any more, as a tidal wave of immigrants sweeps away what’s left of our national identity. Another 240,000 foreigners joined us last year alone, not just crowding our cities but changing our culture.
Let me begin by saying Bolt would not be included in any group I would call “us”. We most certainly do not share the same values. And whilst we might both be speaking in English, we do not speak the same language.
Bolt singles out groups such as Chinese, Cambodian, Indian and Jewish and quotes what percentage of the community where they live that they represent.
He laments that “Dandenong now has an official Little Indian Cultural Precinct, with 33 Indian businesses.”
One would have thought he would commend their industry in starting up businesses that provide employment and pay taxes but no, Andrew thinks this is a bad thing.
Bolt’s own history makes his words seem very hypocritical. His parents migrated to Australia the year before his birth. Even though he was born here, in a 2011 interview, Bolt reveals how hard he found it to settle in.
The family struggled to find its place. “… in farming communities integration was very difficult. It made us more a satellite family.” It also made family life very intense. “We were close, maybe sometimes too close.”
Bolt fled Australia to return to Holland after he finished school.
“I could have stayed in Holland. I had trouble loving this country initially, but the older you get, the more you realise that there’s a lot here.” He credits his late father-in-law, a bookmaker’s son, for endearing Australia’s rawer cultural qualities to him, such as its fascination with horse racing.
Surely this personal experience should make Andrew more sympathetic towards the challenges facing new migrants and understanding as to why they often are initially inclined to stick together. It should also make him realise that, given time, people find their place.
But Bolt cannot, whether through a lack of emotional intelligence or a deliberate adopted public persona, “Imagine the Other”. His modus operandi on almost any political debate, be it on reconciliation, refugee policy, conservation, multiculturalism, the judicial system or global warming, is to turn it into an “us versus them” conflict.
For the son of Dutch migrants to lecture us about the dangers of “colonisation” of Australia by newcomers takes unbelievable gall, ignorance of history, and a complete lack of self-awareness.
We are doing ok thanks Andrew, and we would do a damn sight better if people like you dealt with your own issues rather than projecting your problems onto others. Just because you can’t make friends doesn’t mean others can’t.