Friday, September 15, 2006

Opposition Leader calls for 'Australian Values' to be conditional for Visa applicants.

Quoting from transcript:(Australian Labor Party website)

Opposition Leader,The Hon. Kim beazley, MHR. Radio interview re his call to make Visa Applicants sign to accept "Australian Values".------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BEAZLEY: Well, it’s pretty good if you take a look at the citizenship oath. But it’s a commitment to freedom, commitment to democracy, commitment to respect for each other’s views, commitment to a sense of tolerance about people having diverse beliefs. Also, I would add to it, as well as respect for people’s different views in religious and political terms, respect for (inaudible) gender – respect for women. So, these are the things that I’d incorporate within it.
Letter to Michael Danby, MP, Member for Melbourne Ports (Labor).

Dear Michael,

I want to express my approval of Mr. Beazley’s statement above and the general proposition that Visa applicants have to sign up to these “values”.

However, I wish to make a suggestion to defuse the criticisms. The term “values” is too nebulous for people to accept as an important issue. Values are subjective after-all, not substantive.

It is far more important to know, understand and respect a country’s laws and its customs. Would people from say, the backwoods of Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, some African countries, or even Turkey or Albania, etc. know what these are in Australia? They wish to come to a “free country”,- wouldn’t some of them expect to be allowed to perpetuate here some of their less acceptable-to-us customs from their home-country, such as polygamy, female genital mutilation, “honor killings”, child-brides, etc.? To them, these are not only acceptable, but also ‘expected” in their communities.

Radical Islamists love these (customs),- hence the attraction to these kinds of Islamic teachers, for some young males.

Many already do so even while living here (in Australia as well as in other Western countries no doubt),-through a “revolving door” system,- by sending their kids back to their villages which they left behind, for “indoctrination” (training, marriage!)

For many years, whenever I had the opportunity, I voiced the opinion that all Australian Embassies,- or on-line where visa applications are presented,- should have in hand booklets stating both in English and in the local language(s) of each country, a list of our laws pertaining to the above “values” and where there are no laws, then the “expectation” is that applicants will have to respect the “customs” of this country, e.g. pertaining to the respectful treatment of women of all ages, irrespective of their dress (or undress?).; that polygamy etc. is not only unlawful, but also unacceptable (what is to stop a man claiming that three women in his entourage are a nanny, a cousin or two, plus a wife? As visitors, no one cares,- but as immigrants living here,- what status would they have if he dies?); then there is the fact that while we are a multicultural, multiethnic society where individuals’ rights are protected and respected, the public holidays e.g. are according to the Christian calendar and the foods available may not always be according to all others’ religious dietary requirements.; etc., etc., etc.
They have to be prepared to accept all of these, or stay away!

What visitors and especially prospective immigrants, including refugees, should sign is not a declaration promising to abide by these, but a statement that they have read and UNDERSTOOD what they have read and that they understand that this is what is expected of all Australian residents while in this country.

I really hope that something will be done to eliminate some pretty bad habits and customs which people bring with them, then continue to keep them here, but hidden, so that some women and girls in particular, suffer in silence in this country, when they shouldn’t have to. Without the understanding of their rights, these poor people (females usually) may continue to be forced to live in the past.
Wishing you and your family Shana Tova (a Happy New Year)
Yours sincerely,


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