Oh the irony

One of the production team behind The Political Sword regularly attends a trivia night at a local pub. Recently the host (who runs a company that hosts multiple trivia nights every night of the week — so he’s pretty good at finding obscure facts) made the claim that 49 percent of Australians are either immigrants or one/both their parents are immigrants.

You may have noticed over the years that we at The Political Sword like to check claims presented as facts regardless of the origin, so we did. As it turns out, the trivia host was right — 49% of Australians are either first generation (they immigrated) or second generation (one/both parents born overseas) Australian. It’s one of the facts that has come out of the much maligned 2016 Census (remember the one we were supposed to do on-line, until the website crashed). The remaining 51% of us have Australian born parents — although the Grandparents’ country of origin could be a different discussion.

When this data was released half way through 2017, The Guardian reported:
As of 2015, Australia had the ninth-largest number of overseas-born people of any country, and the highest proportion of its population, at 26% — ahead of New Zealand (23%) and Canada (22%), the bureau found.
The Guardian’s article also has a lot of other population related statistics that are interesting — and who knows may help you win a trivia night somewhere, sometime.

Given the distances between the homes of the production team behind The Political Sword, most communication is done by email. Apart from ‘business related’ discussions we also discuss the usual things that people discuss — the weather, politics (strangely!), and various events that happen in the lives of the co-conspirators. The same week as the trivia host made his 49% of Australians are either first or second-generation comment, another member of the production team wrote about an example of blatant discrimination that he had recently seen.

Some ‘very lovely’ ladies who are recent immigrants turned up at a local computer club, eager to learn, gain some additional skills and fit into their adopted community. There was also one attendee who was considerably older and also an immigrant (from the UK in the era of the ten-pound Pom). Apparently the older English ‘gentleman’ was offended that the ‘very lovely’ ladies, who were from an Islamic community group, would be furthering their understanding of computers at the same time as he was and started to verbalise his thoughts at full volume. Fortunately the Community Co-ordinator was able to diffuse the situation before it really became heated.

In a nutshell, an older ‘gentleman’ who immigrated to Australia around 50 years ago finds it objectionable that others have immigrated to Australia more recently, with different cultural beliefs. Oh, the irony! You’d have to wonder if, 50 odd years ago, the ‘gentleman’ had different cultural values to those around him when he arrived in this country.

Many years ago, Bruce Woodley from The Seekers and Dobe Newton of The Bushwackers wrote a song that claimed
We are one But we are many And from all the lands on earth we come We'll share a dream And sing with one voice I am, you are, we are Australian
You might recognise the words — they have been recently appropriated by ABC as their network identity jingle. Pity there are pockets where the reality is somewhat different from the lofty ideals.

So what would our ‘older gentleman’ have us do with his ‘very lovely ladies’ — send them back? If we are going to send immigrants back to where they came from, do we only send the 26% of the population who are first generation Australians away, in which case the UK immigrant is out too? Do we deport the 49% of first- and second-generation Australians which might be a problem if for example Mum comes from Ukraine and Dad comes from Russia? Do we send all immigrants away in which case Australia reverts to being a terra nullus of 60,000 or thereabouts years ago; or do we just agree that the ‘gentleman’ is a bigot rather than a gentleman and welcome the ladies from the Islamic community group while telling the bigot his rant is not welcome?

The reality of immigration to Australia over the last 60,000 years is this country is a blend of cultures from ‘all the lands of earth’. It is a far more pleasant place than the cold, narrow minded monocultural vision offered by the followers of the ultra-conservative bigots spewing hatred such as the likes of Hanson, Bernardi and the ‘alt-right’ poster children who occasionally tour (or try to tour) the country promote. Assimilating parts of different cultures presents solutions to seemingly intractable problems, gives us benefits as mundane as pizza and fried rice as well as demonstrating that ‘Anglo’ culture doesn’t always offer the ultimate solution to the problem.

Where else in the world will you see kids of African background pestering their parents for sushi in the local food court or young girls of Middle Eastern, Asian and European backgrounds all performing together at the local dance school concert? And that’s just how it should be.

What do you think?

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GREGORY

10/12/2018

I think it may be the case that there is 49 1st or second gen immigrants but that is not  good for community cohesion as your example demonstrated. I fail to see that the awful jingle makes any improvement in the above situation. The open door policy that has reduced Australian culture and achievement to date to be relegated to the smirking humour of deluded progressives who themselves have little or no real achievement to claim any moral authority.

Its easy to give away / belittle identity  when you do not have any history of shaping it.

janice

10/12/2018

I remember way back when I was 'kneehigh to a grasshopper' an expression favoured by my Dad yet still observant enough to notice that our town was home to a number of immigrant families who were considered by the social elite to be sort of second class; just a half knotch above the aboriginals and those with some disability or other which made them 'different' to the rest of us.  

The 'older gentleman' who was miffed that he was expected to fraternize with the group of newly arrived immigrants, doesn't surprise me.   I remember how gobsmacked I was when I first came across this sort of discrimination being practised by the first families I came to know against those who came after them.

Have yourself a very happy Xmas, Ad Astra, and best wishes to all who visit The Political Sword.  

Ad Astra

10/12/2018

janice

So good to hear from you janice, my first-ever respondent to my initial blog piece all of ten years ago.

I too remember the 'knee-high to a grasshopper' expression, and the 'looking down the nose' behaviour of those who considered themselves 'a cut above the average'. Surveying today's attitudes, has anything changed in all those years since we were kids? That question suggests a topic worth exploring. I'll ponder that over the end-of-year break.

I wish you a Joyous Festive Season and a New Year of Hope in 2019.

Ad Astra

10/12/2018

Folks

There's plenty of irony  to go around. Read this piece by Michael Pascoe in The New Daily: Irony: Record number of asylum seekers arrive on Dutton’s watchhttps://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2018/12/09/record-number-asylum-seekers-peter-dutton/  

2353NM

11/12/2018

Gregory,

Thanks for your comment however you are incorrect with your statement regarding community cohesion. Except the LNP has inflamed tensions around immigration for political reasons; Australians 'from all the lands of earth' get along together quite well. 

Certainly there are groups of people that can't abide migration that doesn't reflect their preferences however as we or our ancestors all migrated here, what gives us the right to suggest to others that do not share their particular culture are not welcome here? 

Australia has until recently a long and proud history of invention, sporting achievements and integration. The current government rhetoric about the connection between terrorism and refugees has been clearly shown to be more political claptrap in recent days. I refer you to the link in Ad Astra's comment above Michael Pascoe has done the numbers and there are more people awaiting vetting in the Australian community now with less chance of being granted a protection visa that the total number of boat arrivals during the period when the ALP allegedly didn't protect our bs.

In recent years, the LNP government has also reduced funding for research to pitiful levels which will be a direct drain on the country's economy for generations to come. Their lack of action on climate change will also directly affect us and our country's future. The current government has a lot to answer for.

How many oranges do I have if I have 3 oranges and take ONE away?