Published on Guardian Australia on 19 July, 2013, my reaction to Australian opposition leader Scott Morrison’s speech on integration. Meanwhile, the governing Labour Party has hit asylum seekers hard by effectively making it impossible to seek refuge in Australia for those arriving by boat and resettling them in Australia’s old colony, Papua New Guinea. Read Anthony Loewenstein’s excellent article on Kevin Rudd’s PNG Plan here.
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison is nothing if not a skilful rhetorician. There was something for everyone in the speech he gave this week to the Affinity Intercultural Foundation, an interfaith organisation – migrants (skilled ones, mind) old and new, the religiously diverse, “my own adopted brothers and sisters, uncles and aunties”, the Aboriginal people of Australia.
Morrison reads his audience carefully. He’s listened to the polemics on multicultural failure screeched by his European counterparts over recent years and decided that, in Australia, they won’t wash. Rather,
We have learnt to appreciate our differences […] We must disconnect ethnicity from citizenship. We must come back to the important point of connection between all of us; which is not where we have come from, but where we are going together.
Morrison’s reading of Australia’s migration history is one of unfettered success.