Inquiry into Multiculturalism in Australia
Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Although born in rural Australia, I, like most other Australians, have a multiethnic/cultural heritage. I share my house with an Australian who was born in a non English speaking country. I see the intense problems of multiculturalism arising in many countries around the world and hear the thoughts, discussions and growing discontent of many around me. For all of the above reasons I feel qualified to participate into the inquiry in multiculturalism.
I have recently returned from a holiday to India and Nepal. At Pokara Nepal I was given a ‘trekking profile’ which included a list detailing ‘culturally acceptable behaviour’ such as ‘Do not touch or step over offerings (red powder, flowers/rice)’. The first sentence read, ‘You are a guest in Nepal and it is appreciated if you behave like a Nepali’. I understood their request and accepted it as very reasonable request. In the same way Australians make the same reasonable request, ‘Do not touch or disrespect our Judeo/Christian heritage’.
It is my understanding that, generally speaking, Australians are happy to share this great land and the wealth and freedom it offers however they draw the line when it comes to destroying the existing values and principals upon which modern Australia was founded and the freedom to express them. The greater majority of Australians are relieved to once again freely celebrate our Judeo – Christian heritage particularly during Christmas and Easter in our schools, kindergartens and childcare centers without fear of retribution for being politically incorrect or insensitive and so I request once more, please do not touch or disrespect Australia’s Judeo/Christian heritage.
Submission No. 13 by the Islamic Council of Victoria calls on ‘Parliamentarians who feel … that there are issues within the Muslim community not integrating … to discuss their perceived concerns’. Janson says the project ‘Learning From One Another; Bringing Muslim Perspectives into Australian Classrooms’ tells us why Muslims will not be integrating the way other peoples have. The booklet, she says, expects non-Muslim Australians to be socially inclusive learning about Islam although that courtesy is not to be expected in return. The reason given is Muslim Australians may be too offended to sit through either Christian education or our secular education systems that offend them. One of many possible offences listed was religious bias. Religious bias is a very broad term which could easily encompass all the history taught in Australian schools. This suggests that the parliamentarians concerns are not merely perceived concerns or unsubstantiated concerns they are real concerns with the potential to develop into substantial problems.
I obtained a Victorian Diploma of Education last year. During the year I learnt that schools ‘play a vital role in promoting the … moral, [and] spiritual development and wellbeing or young Australians’. Who’s morality and who’s spirituality? Vickie Janson, in a well supported argument, suggests that the curriculum project ‘Learning From One Another: Bringing Muslim Perspectives Into Australian Schools’ is nothing short of Islamic Indoctrination. Janson asks how will the multitudes of non-Muslim children who have no religious education be able to question any of the Islamic claims? She says Part A focuses on incorporating Islamic content and Muslim perspectives in all curriculum areas. She asks, what I presume are rhetorical questions such as, ‘Will they [ students] be exposed to the Judeo-Christian roots of modern Australia which developed the Rule of Law and the many institutions that have benefited Australia? Will they [ students] be exposed to Christian theology and history and the achievements of great Christian men and women in the same way this booklet upholds Muslim achievement? I request that when the Australian curriculum addresses the moral and spiritual development of our young Australians it will include Christian theology and the historical achievements of Christian men and women in our Australian schools.
The Islamic Council or Victoria recommends in their submission that ‘The committee address religious intolerance in educating Australians that all religious practice are permissible in Australia as long as it’s not illegal or impacts on the rights of others’. I will now bring your attention to a 5 year long court case instigated by the Islamic Council of Victoria against Ps. Scott and Ps. Nulliah (2002-2007) and point out the hypocrisy of such a recommendation. I would also ask the committee to rely on global reality of multiculturalism and the facts surrounding this issue rather than rhetoric offered.
Australians do not have a problem with multiculturalism per say it is when our culture, our Christian heritage is forced to bow in the name of political correctness/tolerance to other more aggressive (check current world events) minorities. It is when certain people groups gain exceptions to the law, accepted OH&S standards and cannot integrate with mainstream society for whatever reasons, perceived or otherwise, that multiculturalism becomes a problem.
It is obvious that certain cultures, like oil and water, do not mix without changing their very essence and so I ask you, please do not contribute to the destruction o Australia’s Judeo-Christian heritage in the pursuit of multiculturalism. Do not contribute to the destruction of the Judeo-Christian faith by expecting it to blend into all others; it cannot. Do not touch or disrespect Australia’s Judeo-Christian heritage. I respectfully ask the committee to recommend whatever is required to ensure Australia’s Judeo-Christian heritage can continue to flourish and prosper unimpeded
for the generations to come.
Thank you for this opportunity to contribute to the inquiry.