In “Open market on democratic ideals: What’s so wrong with encouraging immigrants to speak English and understand liberal values?” in The Australian (thanks to Snowman), Janet Albrechtsen asserts what used to be taken for granted of immigrants ought to be taken for granted again. After all, the countries from which the immigrants come jealously guard their identity and values. Why should Western countries be denied the same right?
MAYBE, just maybe, the long, slow surrender is over. Instead of raising the white flag through silence, more political leaders are realising that not enough is being done to defend Western values. Last week, it was Andrew Robb’s turn.
At the Sydney Institute, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs suggested that immigrants to Australia should pass a new citizenship test. From the reaction in some quarters, you’d think he wanted immigrants to recite verbatim, in a plum Tory accent, Robert Menzies’ speech on Freedom in a Modern Society. Or recount word-perfect the first three chapters of Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom.
No, Robb had something less exacting on his mind. He flagged the need for immigrants to have a more functional level of English and an understanding of Australian values.
Immediately, Robb’s proposal was subjected to the standard leftist values guessing game. Speaking for the Sikh community, Bawa Singh Jagdev told the ABC’s AM program: “I don’t understand very much what do they mean by Australian values.” Federation of Islamic Councils president and long-time Australian citizen Ameer Ali said he had no problem with universal values, “but when you say Australian values, no one knows what those values are”.
It was a predictable response and neatly proved Robb’s point: that Australian values are not proclaimed enough to new immigrants. Robb defined Australian values as including core Western values such as “our respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual, our commitment to the rule of law, our commitment to the equality of men and women”, then added some particularly Australian attributes such as “the spirit of the fair go, of tolerance and compassion to those in need”.
Read it all.