The Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison, has delivered a speech on immigration and multiculturalism in which he depicts Australia as a nation of “adopted children” and calls for Australians to honour their national inheritance.
The speech was delivered at the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, Kings College, London.
Morrison argues that Australia’s nationalism “is divorced from ethnicity, race and religion, disarming what is often a volatile and potentially negative combination”.
He says the “traditions, values and ethnic culture” of immigrants to Australia “are part of the process of transition from our old lands, culture and ways of life to the new that has been part of the national and cultural journey of Australians for centuries. It is an iterative process, taking place over a lifetime and generations, as we exchange and adapt the old for the new, bringing what’s best, leaving the rest and embracing over time a new national identity”.
Morrison points to Henry Parkes, Robert Lowe and WC Wentworth as examples of the inheritors of a “modern liberal democratic immigration nation” becoming its stewards.
The Howard government reoriented multiculturalism, says Morrison. It sought “to bring a greater focus on what communities had in common as Australians”, adopting a policy that “deliberately set out to explicitly recognize the supremacy of Australian values, the primacy of the English language, respect for existing institutions and adherence to the rule of law”.