Australia has always welcomed a LARGE influx of immigrants, initially from the British Isles (including all my ancestors) and later from all over Europe. In more recent times there has been a huge influx from Asia, mostly Han Chinese.

And ALL the arrivals have settled in very well to the Australian way of life — if not the first generation but certainly their children. So Australia is a society with strong Anglo-Saxon traditions even though many Australians are not of Anglo-Saxon ancestry. America is much the same.

The assimilation is so marked that I have even noted Yugoslavs who argue in favour of the monarchy. For Yugoslavs — who still reliably hate one another (Serb-Croat rivalry etc.) — to favour Queen Elizabeth as Queen of Australia is a rather remarkable testimony to how well immigrants have accepted Australia’s traditions and is, I think, impressive.

Needless to say, there is always a fly in the ointment and the two major flies are Muslims (Lebanese in particular) and Africans — both of whom have high crime rates, high rates of welfare dependancy and an apparent inability to settle well into the Australian mainstream.

But all is not lost. Australia’s Indian community are clear assets to the country. And I must admit that I speak from some prejudice. I like Indians and find their peaceable nature wholly admirable. I have been to India 3 times and to Fiji once (from whence many Indians have come to Australia) so I know Indians in their own context as well as in a local context.

I am always one to put my money where my mouth is, however, so I have filled up the spare bedrooms in my big house with Indians. I have not gone to India but India has come to me.

One indication of my Indophilia is that I have long flown the flag of the Republic of India from the flagpole at the front of my house. I did so both to indicate my own affection for India and in order to make my Indian sharers feel at home.

Recently, however, two of my Indian residents took the oath of allegiance and became Australian citizens. One of them came to me and told me that. I of course shook his hand and congratulated him.

But he had one request: Now that both were Australians he asked me to fly the Australian flag rather than the Indian flag from my flagpole. I of course have obliged.

But isn’t that just the sort of attitude that one would hope for from immigrants? I applaud it and see it as yet another demonstration of the desirability of Indian immigrants. If we could replace all our Muslim and African immigrants with Indians, I personally would be much pleased.

Mind you, I am also strongly in favour of Australia’s major “minority” — the restrained, peaceable and hard-working Han Chinese. And since Australia is probably about 10% Han these days, that is another great strength for Australia. Wherever I go I see Han people and they are never any bother to anyone — but they are often important service providers — restaurateurs, pharmacists, doctors etc. — JR

Advertisements