Thursday, October 05, 2006

CRIKEY: Petro's spot-on when it comes to citizenship

Whatever you think of Petro Georgiou’s form of wet liberalism, his logic on citizenship issues is faultless. There is bugger-all evidence of chronic integration problems with migrants of any background. Indeed, the apparent problems cited are the same which have been levelled at virtually all migrants at some time or other.

Here's how Petro put it ...

By any standard, we are an exemplar of unity and respect for our multicultural diversity. We have brought together peoples of diverse nations, religions and cultures. Migrants have worked hard and committed themselves to this country. Through their efforts and initiative they have profoundly enriched the nation.

Until a few weeks ago, this was an article of faith on the part of every politician. Now we are told we need to make significant policy changes to address weaknesses in our citizenship laws.

What are the societal malfunctions that justify these changes?

I have looked closely at the Federal Government's discussion paper Australian Citizenship: much more than just a ceremony, and I can find no detailed, robust analysis of a problem, and no evidence of how the new measures would resolve a problem that has not been demonstrated.
Today, those accused of failing to integrate are Muslim Australians. The PM has made various confused and confusing references to Muslim integration. At one stage, he argued that Muslims were a new group, separate from post-war European and more recent Asian arrivals.

This, of course, is nonsense. A few nights back, I met a Bosnian developer who is heavily involved in the management of 2 Canberra mosques. He arrived in Australia during the mid-1960’s. One of Howard’s most senior immigration bureaucrats is the son of an Indian Muslim historian who had been teaching at ANU since at least the late 1950’s.

One Bosnian Imam I know based in Sydney is married to a lady I used to attend Muslim youth camps with back in the mid-1980’s. Her ultra-conservative father arrived in Australia in the same wave as other Croatian migrants.

It seems strange that a Prime Minister so concerned about accuracy in history teaching should make such fundamental errors about Australia’s first century.

At other times, Howard has suggested that the lack of integration only exists in (at most) 1% of Muslim migrants. Muslims make of 2% of the total population, numbering around 350,000. The number of problem Muslims numbers around 3,500.

In the world of fiction that is talkback radio and tabloid blogging (something I too can be accused of engaging in), some 3,500 non-integrating Muslims are a national security risk. Alternately, they tend to gang-rape Aussie girls or bash up surf lifesavers. Yet there are at least 20,000 members of the Exclusive Brethren whose leaders have been accused of being party to a host of illegal activities including: Centrelink fraud, breaching Family Court orders, engaging in schemes designed to avoid paying tax etc.

The PM’s formula on integration is based on poor information and a fundamental misunderstanding of the true relationship between culture, integration and national security. As Peter Costello rightly observed in his Sydney Institute address on citizenship, it isn’t people having the wrong culture that is the problem. Rather, it’s kids living

... in a twilight zone where the values of their parents old country have been lost but the values of the new country not fully embraced.
With all this nonsensical attempt by the Howard governments to regulate culture and legislate integration, it won’t just be Muslims finding themselves in a twilight zone.

(First published in Crikey! on 5 October 2006.)

Words © 2006 Irfan Yusuf

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Law Student said... often does Howard contradict himslef?

Hyuwiya said...

I admire the clarity with which Petro Georgiou illuminates this subject. However I don’t think Howard is confused about any of the issues.

Howard is an amoral neo-conservative extremist and a master Politian. His strategy is instinctive and simple.

Howard seeks to divert the public’s gaze away from his illegal Crusade in the Middle East & Central Asia by focusing the public’s attention on imaginary and invented fears that Muslims are too alien to contribute to an Australian identity.

Anonymous said...

?There is bugger-all evidence of chronic integration problems with migrants of any background.

Bollocks. How do you explain chronic and disproportionately high unemployment within the Lebanese-Muslim community? Coincidence? I think not.

Howard seeks to divert the public’s gaze away from his illegal Crusade in the Middle East & Central Asia by focusing the public’s attention on imaginary and invented fears that Muslims are too alien to contribute to an Australian identity.

You don't suppose Muslim terrorists have done anything anywhere to encourage fear or resentment?

Anonymous said...

anon @ 1259, have you been smoking weed again? have you seen unemployment figures among assyrian christians? then again, they do earn money but just don't declare it. i know at least you get your drugs from them.

Anonymous said...


"Thirty-nine per cent of first-generation Lebanese Muslim men aged 25 to 44 in Sydney are unemployed or not in the labour force, as are 26 per cent of the second generation of the same age (compared with 16 per cent of all Australian men in this age group)."

"Lebanese Muslim households are large and much more likely to be poor than all households, or than Lebanese Christian households," it concludes.

"Lebanese Muslim men have low levels of education, relatively high levels of unemployment, and a very high tendency not to be in paid work."

See a pattern here? Or am I just "smoking weed". Your use of capital letters suggests you might also have a low level of education. I don't suppose you fit into any of the above groups? If you do, you could admit there was a problem and offer a solution, rather than point the finger at obscure Christian groups.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 446, how many people were interviewed for the survey? And what suburbs was it conducted in?

the only suburb i saw mentioned was bankstown. what about auburn, ryde, coburg, brunswick, capalaba and other australian suburbs?

or do all leb muslims live in bankstown?

my lack of use of capitals shows that i follow a form of netiquette which is perfectly permissible. perhaps you've only just left the exclusive brethren and so are new to computers.

Jamaludeen Haniffa said...

Happy Ramadan Mubarak....

Ur blog Very Nice


Anonymous said...

I had no idea that functional illiteracy qualified as "netiquette".

Per your uncalled for accusations of drug use however, feel free to consult your "netiquette" handbook's chapter on 'flaming' and get back to us.

By questioning the survey, you are only digging a bigger hole for yourself. My advice: Stop digging and start thinking about how Muslims can increase their lot, rather than blaming everybody else. From time to time Irfan gets it, why can't you? The solution won't come from whinging. It will come from recognising a problem and dealing with it.

Irfan said...

Anon @ 835, I am not from the Lebanese community. And all my Lebanese Muslim friends are busy running their law firms, small businesses or working as academics and journos and some other form of gainful employment.

What do you possibly think I can do for the unemployed Lebanese?

What can Hindus do for the Hindu fascists who burnt down that Indian Catholic College some 3 weeks back?

What can Buddhists do about the Thai generals that took over Thailand?

Presuming you are a Christian, what are you doing about the Lords Resistance Army in Uganda or wherever it is?

It's a good idea if we inject realism into this discussion, rather than relying purely on our prejudices. And it might be an idea if the more prejudiced participants bothered to log in and reveal their identity. Such a step might make their comments somewhat more credible.

Anonymous said...

No Irfan, you are wrong.

The majority of any ethnic group certainly can have an effect on the minority, if, and only if, they wish to.

Shrugging their shoulders however won't make the problem go away. As Mark Steyn said to you in 'that' speech, the motivation has to come from within Islam and that is something only Muslims can do.

It's no different for terrorism as it is unemployment or any other form of self-inflicted social isolation.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 1020, i demand to know what you have done about the following:

a. catholic pedophile priests touching up little boys.

b. drunken and stoned rioters on cronulla beach bashing up bangladeshis.

c. retailers that use kids to model sexy clothes.

d. white trash kids rioting at macquarie fields.

until you explain this phenomenon, i am convinced white trash like you refuse to integrate and must be expelled as soon as possible.

like you said, you can do something about it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 1:50am

a) The Catholic church has ousted paedophiles from within its ranks and instituted specific and measurable programmes to prevent it in the future. It didn't deny the problem, it faced it head on.

b) A number of those Anglos involved in the riots turned themselves in, or were turned in, in some cases by their own family and friends. They didn't deny the problem and faced it head on.

c) Retailers? I didn't know that was an ethnic group. Maybe I missed your point. What was it again?

d) Macquarie Fields - See Father Chris O'Riley and numerous projects which originated entirely within the Macquarie Fields Community. They didn't deny the problem and faced it head on.

You've raised examples to try and prove a point, yet have shot yourself in the foot. The fact is, these community groups have accepted they had a problem and done something about it. My earlier point stands - Islamic Communities, for the most part have blamed everybody else. To put it in your terms, how many Muslim Lebanese who vandalised cars the following night, waved Glocks in the air or stabbed people, were turned in by their peers? Exactly zero. Their leaders meanwhile, rather than acknowledging a problem, blamed Australia. Your move...

Anonymous said...

anon @ 1248, what do you make of the recent BBC panorama program which showed that the pope was involved in an attempt to enforce coverups of pedophile allegations?

the catholic church has systematically tried to cover these things up. it was only because the victims came out that the church was forced to deal with the matter.

church elders knew their people were molesting boys. they hid the matter. they were forced to dal with it. they didn't initiate the process.

as far as i know, Irf's parents are indian, not lebanese. he isn't responsible for what leb muslims do. just like you aren't responsible for the IRA.

pull your head in and get real.

Anonymous said...

My comments weren't aimed directly at Irfan but the broader Islamic Community. It's also counterproductive for the Indians and Pakistanis to ignore the Lebs, the Malaysians etc.

For what it's worth though, Irfan could use his prominence to effect change. If he wanted.

You can keep making excuses about the Pope etc. All you are really doing though, is proving my point that Muslims are great at making excuses rather than tackling social problems the way other communities have.

Irfan said...


Apart from write about the dangers of the phenomenon, what do you expect me to do? Become a social worker? Move to Lakemba? Leave anonymous comments on blogs?

The point about the Catholic Church is well-made. I have a friend (since deceased) who admitted to me before he died that he left the Catholic Church to become an Anglican because he was molested by a parish priest. When he tried to dob in the priest, he was threatened with excommunication and his family were pressured to shut him up.

I've seen the devastating effects of this Church denial first-hand. Yet I know it is something that not every Catholic is equipped to deal with.

Law Student said...

Anons argument isnt making sense.

Houri Torossian said...

I read the edited transcript of Petro Georgiou's speech (thanks to a friend). It is quite moving!

As Petro pointed out candidates already affirm their commitment to Australia by making the following Australian Citizenship pledge:

"From this time forward, [under God,] I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey."

Those are the most beautiful words I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

Law Student

Just because you can't understand it doesn't mean it doesn't make sense.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 1215 & 426, what makes sense to all of us here is that you're an apologist for Catholic pedophiles.

Anonymous said...

Tie a muslim to a chair. Tie a jew to another chair. They are allowed to headbutt, bite, move the chair around. Jump up on down on each other. Grind the legs of the chair into each others faces.

If they don't fight they get sprayed with acid. Maybe then get hosed off with boiling water. Then electrocuted while they are still wet.

Last one alive is allowed to walk out the door into a van. Dead one put in after him.

Then they both get put in the ovens.

Guard dogs need cooked meals.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 351am, why does your computer's ISP show up as coming from the NSW Parliamentary server? imagine how much fuin the journos would have exposing you ...