Adopt Australian Values or Leave

Federal Treasurer Peter Costello yesterday mentioned in a public speech that if you want to live in Australia, you have to follow the Australian rule of law. I’m fine with that. It’s what to be expected wherever you live, anyway.

But he also basically said that migrants should adopt Australian values or go home. “Before becoming an Australian, you will be asked to subscribe to certain values – if you have strong objections to those values, don’t come to Australia,” he said.

I somewhat agree that if you’re a migrant who wants to live in Australia, don’t expect to change the people here to follow the same way of life you used to have in your country of origin. And if you don’t like that, go back home. Fair enough?

I assume that the Treasurer is only targeting the small minority of extremist Muslims that may have migrated into our country. But the way he put it in his speech sounded like all migrants must adopt all Australian values — no exceptions — or get out.

But what exactly are these Australian values that the Treasurer spoke of? Is there a list so I can check if I have adopted every single one of them?

Let’s see. Australia is a democracy so I assume democratic values are part of this list of Australian values. We have fair laws, freedom of speech, assembly and worship, equality, tolerance and social justice. No problem there. I follow the law like any other Aussie and I certainly exercise my freedom of speech. I’m a Roman Catholic and I should be allowed that in a democracy. I treat others equally and fairly. I try to be tolerant of others’ beliefs and culture.

Looks like I get to stay in Australia.

But I have this suspicious feeling that some redneck Aussies would think that adhering to democratic values still wouldn’t mean I’ve adopted Australian values.

At the risk of being an arrogant prick, I believe I could speak and write English, albeit American English, fluently. In fact, I’m slightly peeved when the people here who grew up with English as their primary language make silly grammatical mistakes like “it’s hotting up” or label the Men’s toilet as “mens”. It should be “it’s heating up” because hot is not a verb — heat is. And it should be “men’s” not “mens” because “men” is already plural.

That probably wouldn’t be enough for some redneck Aussies though because I still wouldn’t be able to speak with an Aussie accent and use the slang. They’d also be offended that I know a second language and use it like when I talk to Raquel in Tagalog in private conversations. It can’t be helped. The best I can do is speak and write in English the way I know how.

How about other Aussie values? Aussies love sports like footy and cricket. I think I’ll be in trouble in this department as I’m not all that fond of sports even when I was still back in the Philippines. And what’s up with cricket? It takes too long and seems too slow for my taste.

A lot of Aussies seem to enjoy beer and wine a lot. Well, I don’t drink. I hate the taste of alcoholic beverages. Even when all my friends back in the Philippines started drinking San Miguel Beer, I stuck to drinking soft drinks. I just don’t get why anyone would prefer a bitter glass of beer over a sweet glass of Pepsi. So, if drinking is another Aussie value, then that’s another value I couldn’t adopt.

How about eating lamb? There was this TV commercial recently that eating lamb is the Aussie thing to do. Right now, I no longer eat meat that came from mammals not because of any religious conviction but because I now find eating such meat gross. Since lamb is a mammal, then I wouldn’t eat it. So, again, there’s another Aussie value I couldn’t live up to.

Sure, Mr Costello probably didn’t mean that people who don’t watch cricket, don’t speak with an Aussie accent and don’t eat lamb should leave the country. But it could be interpreted that way by redneck Aussies who want all migrants to forget the language and the culture of the country they left behind like magic.

I just don’t like where we’re headed right now. Already, people who are against multiculturalism are emboldened by the Treasurer’s speech. I just hope this wouldn’t incite future “Cronulla” riots.

Read here for further discussions about Multiculturalism and Peter Costello’s speech: The Age Blogs: Your Say

Published in: on February 24, 2006 at 7:15 am  Comments (6)  

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yo nussh. Tama ka. Dapat nga naging mas tactful si Mr Treasurer. Wala e. Lumalabas ang totoong iniisip nya.

  2. Oooooiiiiiii!
    Musta bah? U know that kind of thinking by Mr Costello n as manifested in inggo’s comment is what’s going to destroy humanity. Everyone is different n if everyone will be contemptuous about our differences rather than just be accepting n respectfull of it – we will never be at peace with each other.
    If that’s what he meant then I suppose he should hav been more tactful or perhaps more direct in saying so he’ll avoid touching the sentiments of others.
    Above all we are EARTHLINGS!!!:)>-

  3. Inggo, ayos lang dito no. Kahit saan ka naman pumunta sa labas ng bansa natin, may parang ganitong mangyayari e. Di maiiwasan. I believe it’s still way better (as in safer, better pay, better benefits) to live here than back home.

  4. Sheesh… sa totoo lang, mas lalo akong nawawalan ng gana pumunta sa bansang yan. Australian values??? Ano kaya yun? may mas gaganda pa ba sa values na napulot natin sa bansa natin (o di kaya sa buong asia, in that matter)? Ano kaya yung gusto niyang patunayan sa pagkakasabi niya nun? Para ba sa mga radikal na muslim yung tinutukoy niya e. I don’t think so. :-w

  5. Yeah. I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant, too. And in that case, I sort of agree in keeping unwanted (and dangerous) people out.

  6. I think he was only referring to the radical Muslims. I admire the guy for speaking up even if there is a risk that his opinion will be unpopular.

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