Aus leader expresses concern over attack on Indians
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Last Updated: Saturday, January 23, 2010, 09:13
Melbourne: Seeking support for immigration and population growth policy Down Under, Australian opposition party leader has expressed serious concerns over possibility of Indians being victims of racially motivated crime.

"The last thing any Australian would want would be to make recent immigrants feel unwelcome, and expressed concern at the possibility Indians had become the victims of racially motivated crime," Tony Abbot was quoted as saying in a report in a newspaper.

"This would be worse than a law enforcement problem. It would be an affront to our self-perception as a society where people are judged on their merits rather than on their skin colour," he said.

Conversely, the rise of ethnic gangs and perception of ethnic street crime threaten the understanding that migration should be overwhelmingly a net benefit to Australia.

He warned that the rise of ethnic gangs and perception of ethnic street crime threaten public support for immigration.

The Opposition Leader, in a speech supporting population growth, immigration, and a strong border-protection policy, challenged ethnic leaders to show greater respect for Australian values.

"It would help to bolster public support for immigration and acceptance of social diversity if more minority leaders were as ready to show to mainstream Australians values the respect they demand for their own," he said.

For all the misguided and sometimes cruel treatment of Aborigines, the ethnic typecasting and occasional snobbery that still existed, Australia had rarely seen domestic discrimination based on race or culture, Abbot said.

He said that despite the success of immigration, it regularly featured on issues that concerned people.

He identified three reasons: unauthorised boat arrivals had raised fears that Australian borders were again uncontrolled; some recent immigrants seemed resistant to Australian notions of equality; and concern about the natural and built environment coping with the pressure.

"There is, I suspect, an anxiety that the great prize of Australian citizenship is insufficiently appreciated and given away too lightly," he said.

He admitted many continued to be dismayed by what they saw as the harsh treatment of boat people, and that it was "far from obvious how to strike a judicious balance."

But a strong border protection border policy was perfectly consistent with a large and inclusive immigration policy. In fact, its probably essential if the public is to be convinced that Australia's policy is run by the Government rather than by people smugglers.

He said Australians made few demands of its immigrants.

There is no ideal of Australian-ness to which they are expected to conform. There is no expectation [they] will lose their affection for their country of birth.


First Published: Saturday, January 23, 2010, 09:13

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