"Sweden has failed to integrate the vast numbers of immigrants it has taken in over the past two decades, leading to parallel societies and gang violence, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Thursday, as she launched a series of initiatives to combat organised crime." Australia, however, often claims that it is a multicultural success story.
“Multiculturalism in Australia is unquestionably a success story ….....In fact, we now have the largest overseas-born population of all large OECD nations, with nearly half of our population either born overseas, or with one or both parents born overseas.” [Source: https://scanloninstitute.org.au/publications/knowledge-hub/multiculturalism-discussion-paper]
The fact that we have he largest overseas-born population tells us more about our high level of immigration than it does about whether our multiculturalism is successful or not. More to the point our high immigration rate has been an economic success, at least for some, with 5 out of the top ten in the BWR rich list being developers or property tycoons with a combined wealth of over $30b.
Another quote has Rupert Murdoch observing:
“Australia as being ‘a great model for the world – a prosperous, multicultural society of people living together in peace and freedom’.” [Source: R Murdoch, 2013 Annual Lowy Lecture: Tenth Anniversary, (Speech delivered at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Sydney, 31 October 2013). At http://www.lowyinstitute.org/events/2013-annual-lowy-lecture-dinner-rupert-murdoch-ac ]
Murdoch's comment, “a multicultural society living in peace and freedom” goes a lot closer to measuring success since there are very few nations who could make the same claim.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Germany's attempt to create a multicultural society had failed completely, a sentiment echoed by Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, Spain's former leader, Jose Maria Aznar, and indeed, most of western Europe has similar reservations.
Australia could reasonably boast to having less internal strife than the US. Their system is assimilation rather than multiculturalism, which was once considered the benchmark for racial tolerance success stories including the bitter struggle for de-segregation in the 1960's. See: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/race-is-always-the-issue/405295/
This back-patting sentiment has been echoed by many including Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, who in 2013 said:
“There was strong agreement with the notion that we should be emphatically proud of our achievements as a multicultural society.”[Source: Tim Soutphommasane, ‘Racism laws show society’s strength’, The Age, 9 November 2013.]
Its a rather disturbing statement, considering that Australia has a terrible record of treatment for its indigenous people. Worse even than the US and Canada and far worse than New Zealand, which leaves the impression that the commissioner didn't consider the original owners of the land to be part of our society. “Terra nullius” is apparently alive and well, firmly entrenched in governments, and even in our national anthem. Aside from income disparity, lower life expectancy, more health problems, self-harm and higher incarceration rates, the living conditions for many indigenous people are at third world standard, and access to clean water, functioning sewerage and electricity services for aboriginal communities is getting worse. The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households living in houses with adequate services fell from 83 per cent in 2008 to 78 per cent in 2012-13. Imagine the fuss if this situation applied to a particular immigrant group!
Even worse, Australia still has no treaty or law to protect sacred heritage sites with art work that is many thousands of years old, and which can be vandalized in the name of progress. These are places which have significant meaning within indigenous belief system and are synonymous with religious beliefs of other nations. Their destruction is a form of cultural genocide which would not be accepted by any other religion, yet ironically, as a nation, we were quick to condemn the destruction of Buddha statues by the Taliban in 2001.
An output from the Scanlon Foundation is research that claims that acceptance of multiculturalism has been consistently high, and that 86% of Australians either agree, or strongly agree, that multiculturalism has been good for Australia. There are several issues with this assessment, one being that many people assume that multiculturalism is related to our humanitarian refugee intake, which is incorrect - our refugee in take is now only 12,000 a year, while economic migrant intake is over 200,000/year.
Similar surveys that seek opinions on population growth get quite the opposite result. There have been only two public inquiries into population, both by ALP governments, and both overwhelming rejected higher populations. The first one, “The Jones Inquiry” received 261 submissions with only 19 of these arguing for higher populations. There were 13 submissions from academic institutes, only one of which supported population growth. Most, including the CSIRO’s, argued for smaller populations.
A submission from the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Commission, (ATSIC) expressed concern not only for the impact immigration would have on the nations prosperity, but with considerable forethought, predicted that the higher populations created from our substantial immigration, would create a situation where the needs of the existing society, including the original owners, would be given a lower priority.
And that sentence neatly sums up the hypocrisy of not only the Scanlon foundation but all recent immigration ministers like Chris Bowen, and media pundits who provide such lavish praise for both high immigration and multiculturalism. With our population growth outstripping employment opportunities, it is the disadvantaged people: indigenous, migrants, non skilled, and disabled, that make up most of the 2.5 million living below the poverty line. They are the ones that make up the bulk of those out of work, including 300,000 youth who are unemployed, and a larger group that are under-employed. Without sufficient income they cannot afford education or training, leaving them caught up in unskilled casual work that is mind numbing and leaves them more likely to be swindled by unscrupulous employers like 7/11.
Being employed is important for any one ,but especially for young people who need to feel accepted in society, to have the capacity to buy a house, own a car, get married and become involved. Thus not having a job can cause economic, cultural, and social isolation, which in turn can lead to mental health problems like depression and even suicide. (There have been 12 aboriginal suicides in West Australia since December, the most recent was a 10 year old girl. [Source: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/mar/08/ten-year-old-aboriginal-girl-kills-herself-in-far-north-western-australia]
Moreover, studies have found that youth unemployment is associated with increase in drug and alcohol use as well as higher levels of crime, vandalism, and violence, among young people. Not unnaturally, those that feel rejected can develop a contempt for mainstream society, and some have developed a highly advanced informal culture of welfare exploitation, which is politicized. Scott Morrision claimed that eight out of ten workers are needed just to support our welfare budget – creating anger in the rest of the community who then become inclined to support governments cut backs to welfare.
All these dynamics have interacted in a noxious fashion that creates the growth of a macho, misogynist culture among young men that has often found expression in extremely violent crime; a pervasive atmosphere of anti-social behavior in the streets; and the simultaneous growth of extremism that could be linked to a religious or bikie gang culture.
Unfortunately, multiculturalism became a mantra for politicians of all descriptions, driven to some extent by a desire to secure votes from the migrant communities. They are supported by economic prophets who use eco-gabble to justify population growth and muzzle any opposing opinions by insinuations of racism, in order to protect their own interests. The main parties are also the beneficiaries of substantial donations from development-related industries, groups that seem able to move, if not mountains, then certainly museums and rail corridors, for their own benefit. Oddly enough, the only political organization with the clout to challenge this - the Greens - have gone silent about our unsustainable immigration rate, ever since Bob Brown's departure. Instead, they highlight all the symptoms, like housing costs, homelessness, loss of farm land and native animal habitat from urban sprawl, and declining infrastructure. But as they should know, you can't eliminate a problem just by addressing the symptoms.