IN THE MEDIA

Letter: Multiculturalism makes core values stronger

Aug 8, 2018 | Colin Rubenstein

01 Australia Day Crowd Crowd With Flags Watching Parade

Edited versions of this letter were published in the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and Courier Mail – 8 August 2018

 

It is disappointing that Andrew Bolt (August 2) sees only the trees of alleged failures in social cohesion rather than the forest of successful Australian multiculturalism. If he could only take one step back from focusing on unresolved challenges he would be able to appreciate that Australian identity is constantly being informed and invigorated through migration and multiculturalism, a model devised to ensure a productive and cohesive outcome for our undoubted multi-ethnic reality.

Australian multiculturalism works because it emphasises not only rights but also responsibilities, in equal measure. Members of our society are able to observe and celebrate aspects of their identity – be it ethnic, religious, language or national origin – so long as this is consistent with respect for our overriding core values. These values include support for the rule of law, parliamentary democracy, gender equality, mutual respect and the centrality of being able to communicate in English.

There is no reason to believe that individuals choosing to live near houses of worship or communal facilities with cultural relevance to them, or speaking languages other than English at home, is inconsistent with these core values. Problematic behaviour certainly exists, but it is not a product of Australian pluralism and multiculturalism. It is instead a challenge to them, which responsible political leadership and our robust legal system should firmly repudiate.

We do not and should not aspire to coercive “assimilation” – often requiring forced relinquishing of cherished aspects of identity, which is not only often impossible but in any case unnecessary and unwarranted.  Instead, the goal must be a process of “integration” which embraces people of many different backgrounds so long as they adhere to Australia’s core values. Integration is the key to allowing them to contribute to the vitality and cohesion of our nation in a way that has largely worked well in the past and provides the basis for a successful and harmonious future.

Dr. Colin Rubenstein is executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council and a former member of the Council for a Multicultural Australia.

RELATED ARTICLES


Image: John Theodor/ Shutterstock

Stability is at stake

Jul 4, 2022 | Featured, In the media
Naftali Bennett (R), Yair Lapid (L) and former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (credit:Haim Tzach / GPO)

AIJAC’s Ahron Shapiro and Ran Porat interviewed on Israeli political developments on ABC NewsRadio

Jun 22, 2022 | Featured, In the media
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (Image: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré)

Israel and the UN: How the world’s only Jewish state has been scapegoated

Jun 17, 2022 | Featured, In the media
1 2

The Far-Right foreign fighter threat that wasn’t

Jun 16, 2022 | Featured, In the media
Image: AAP Image/Pool, Jason Edwards

Making sense of the new political landscape

May 27, 2022 | Featured, In the media
Image: Wikimedia Commons

University of Melbourne exposes BDS’s lies and extremism

May 18, 2022 | Featured, In the media

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

Image: John Theodor/ Shutterstock

Stability is at stake

India has historically had a distant relationship with Israel, but this has changed dramatically in recent years, as evidenced by the close relationship between former Israeli PM Netanyahu and Indian PM Modi (Image: Isranet)

Essay: Israel looks East

The struggle to succeed 86-year old PA President Mahmoud Abbas is consuming Palestinian politics (Image: Shutterstock)

Does Mahmoud Abbas finally have a successor?

Image: Shutterstock

Polls suggest yet another deadlocked election

The UN Human Rights Council in session (Image: US Mission/Eric Bridiers/Flickr)

Deconstruction Zone: A UN Commission’s war on Israel

Image: John Theodor/ Shutterstock

Stability is at stake

India has historically had a distant relationship with Israel, but this has changed dramatically in recent years, as evidenced by the close relationship between former Israeli PM Netanyahu and Indian PM Modi (Image: Isranet)

Essay: Israel looks East

The struggle to succeed 86-year old PA President Mahmoud Abbas is consuming Palestinian politics (Image: Shutterstock)

Does Mahmoud Abbas finally have a successor?

Image: Shutterstock

Polls suggest yet another deadlocked election

The UN Human Rights Council in session (Image: US Mission/Eric Bridiers/Flickr)

Deconstruction Zone: A UN Commission’s war on Israel

SORT BY TOPICS