Thursday, March 08, 2018

Integration is key to Australia’s successful migrant story

Alan Tudge, below, is broadly right about the high level of integration of immigrants into Australian society. It is a great success story. But he speaks as if ALL migrants integrate well.  Musims and Africans do not -- and the prospects of improvement there seem slim. 

He makes such probably correct statements as "There is almost no difference between the unemployment rates of Australia’s migrants and those born here".  That is largely because our largest minority group by far is Han Chinese.  They are great workers and very enterprising.  Look at the picture for Muslims however and you see heavy welfare dependancy

Blurring of significant distinctions is a form of deception so it is regrettable that a Federal government minister has resorted to it.  Tudge does however seem to be drawing heavily on the latest Scanlon report, which is little more than pro imigrant propaganda.  See here for instance. So Tudge should be more wary of his sources

Australian multiculturalism is different to what is termed multiculturalism in other (particularly European) nations because of our strong emphasis on integration.

That means a person who comes here shares our values, engages in the community and has full rights to government services. In exchange, they must obey the law, participate in and uphold democratic principles, and support other Australians. These things are the glue to building trust between all citizens and consequently help foster social cohesion.

With integrated multiculturalism, there is shared responsibility. The existing population must open its arms to newcomers and the newly arrived have responsibilities to do their best to participate fully in our society.

This model of integrated multiculturalism is different to an “assimilationist” model or a “separatist” model. Assimilation is the idea that we must abandon our cultural and religious heritage and all become the same. We don’t expect or want that in Australia. But where there are conflicts in cultural behaviours, Australian law and values must prevail.

On the other hand, a separatist model of multiculturalism is the opposite to assimilation, and is when people bring their entire practices, languages and cultures and plant them in the new land, with little desire to share or mix with their local community. They live side by side, rather than merged with, the existing population. While not the stated policy intent of Europe, the impact of its policies has been precisely this in some places.

The successful Australian model is one of integration, not assimilation and not separatism.

Our success in integrating people over the decades is evidenced by the 2015 OECD Indicators of Immigrant Integration report. It finds, for example, that we have the third lowest rate of overseas-born unemployment of all 34 OECD countries surveyed.

 There is almost no difference between the unemployment rates of Australia’s migrants and those born here, whereas across the OECD migrants had an unemployment rate that was 2.6 percentage points higher than non-migrants.

Migrants here do better than the Australian-born population in education attainment. Migrant parents want to secure success for their children, in large part through education. Poverty rates among children of migrants are low and home ownership is similar to that of the Australian-born population.

Migrants here have generally participated, succeeded and contributed to our nation.

What is particularly remarkable, however, is that Australia’s success at integration has occurred despite a rate of migration that is much higher than elsewhere — 28 per cent of the total Australian population is born overseas, the third highest in the OECD.

There is, however, no room for complacency. The challenges to successful integration are perhaps greater than in previous decades, and there are indicators we are not doing as well as we once did.

The challenges are greater due to the size of the diasporas, diversity of the migration intake and availability of technology.

In past decades, for example, despite the initial challenges of settling in a new country, new migrants interacted with the existing population through work, school and elsewhere because their diasporas were relatively small.

They tended to maintain less regular contact with their country of origin because of the cost of travel and communications. Today, diasporas can be larger, making it easier for the new migrant to settle initially, but possibly limiting their external interactions.

Technology means a person can communicate easily and cheaply with their birth country or within their diaspora. Today, a person can more easily live here within a language and cultural bubble.

The data also suggests that our success in integrating new migrants has waned. For example, there is an increasing geographic concentration of the overseas-born population. In some respects, there is nothing new about concentrations of newly arrived migrants but the Scanlon Foundation’s Mapping Social Cohesion report suggests this is getting more pronounced. Further, a very high proportion of those born overseas is often aligned with a considerable absence of English capability.

The 2016 census, for example, shows 24 per cent of the people who arrived between January and August that year reported they did not speak English well or at all. This compared with 18 and 19 per cent respectively in the 2006 and 2011 censuses.

The Scanlon Foundation also highlighted the relatively high level of negative feeling towards Muslims, in part “fed by the reality — and the heightened perception — of radical rejectionism of Australia’s secular democratic values and institutions within segments of the Muslim population”.

These challenges are real and we must be alert to them, but they are not insurmountable. We need to work hard at integration by stamping out any remnants of racism, but also by setting higher expectations for those who want to call Australia home. With rights come responsibilities. Ultimately, this will ensure the migrant has the best opportunity to succeed — and it is essential for the ongoing success of our multicultural nation.


Some Sydney schools lifting their NAPLAN results

Fundamentalist Christian school does well

While declining or flatlining NAPLAN results have become a cause for concern, one tiny school in Sydney's west has bucked the trend to improve its scores dramatically in both literacy and numeracy.

The latest NAPLAN results showed the proportion of students meeting national minimum standards in all domains has flatlined or declined for most year groups, and were described as a "wake-up call" by federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham.

However, Christadelphian Heritage College in Kemps Creek is one of 81 schools in NSW, and 330 across Australia, that have been identified by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) as showing significant NAPLAN gains in literacy or numeracy, and one of the few schools to improve in both.

The school's principal Felicity Shields said intervening before students start kindergarten and extensive profession development for teachers were the major factors behind its success in the standardised tests, which all Australian students sit in years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

"We have a transition class in term four before kindergarten starts, where students come in one day a week for that entire term," Mrs Shields said.

"They just have a normal school day but it allows us to see if there are any early things like hearing and speech we need to work on before they even start school."

Mrs Shields said year 11 and 12 students also provided mentoring and homework help for younger students at lunchtime every day, and teachers had a special focus on "character, learning and teamwork" in the classroom.

"I think our environment and culture and their attitude towards school flows through; we have very high attendance and great participation," Mrs Shields said.


Some recent notes from Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef

Nothing like the disaster area that the Greenies predicted

The Great Barrier Reef’s resilience has been mightily challenged and it narrowly escaped being placed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in Danger last year. The one-two punch of Cyclone Ita in April 2014 and Cyclone Nathan just one year later left Lizard Island reeling. A coral bleaching event in the summer of 2016, resulting from a number of marine heatwaves on top of an already elevated sea temperature, dealt it a further blow.

Yet the reef displays a remarkable ability to regenerate and flourish. “There are a lot of people here studying recovery from disaster, and things are coming back after the cyclones and the bleaching,” Dr Anne Hoggett tells me during an afternoon tour of the research station.

She and her husband, Dr Lyle Vail, were appointed directors of the facility in 1990 and Anne has been working on the Lizard Island field guide, a constantly evolving resource detailing more than 7000 different ­species. “I think you could multiply that number of species by at least five, and people are discovering new ones here all the time,” she says.

Back at Clam Gardens, the cuttlefish has found a mate. Diaphanous skirts rippling, the pair frills up the side of a sherbet-coloured bommie, a ­stand-alone coral outcrop that’s been split like a watermelon by one of the recent cyclones. It looks like a tragedy, until Penny points out the crack has merely increased the surface area of the bommie and that the polyps, like busy little construction workers, are already starting to build on the ­foundations of their ancestors.

Drifting over the columns and canyons of reef we spy several ­thickets of staghorn coral, their tips a spark of pale, luminescent blue. “It’s nice to see,” Penny says, ­surfacing with a smile. “It’s encouraging.”


Victoria firefighters get 99 days of sick leave and personal leave

A militant union leader is given all he wants

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has defended a new workplace agreement awarding firefighters up to 99 days of personal and sick leave a year and other extravagant perks, saying “you can’t pay them enough”.

The Premier and Deputy Premier James Merlino have stood by the state’s new Metropolitan Fire Brigade enterprise bargaining agreement, which is due to be voted on by fireys this Friday.

Analysis of the document by the Herald Sun revealed provisions which allow fireys to be absent on pay for up to 196 days a year, in addition to other generous perks and allowances such as a second-language allowance of more than $1200 a year.

Firefighters will receive a pay rise of 19 per cent over five years, and will have access to other provisions including “pressing necessity” leave which means they can take up to four days off at any time if a family member is sick or injured.

The Opposition has slammed the agreement for “not passing the pub test” while other critics have voiced persistent reservations that powerful veto clauses award too much control to the United Firefighters Union.

Mr Andrews this morning batted away suggestions the deal was too generous, and described the deal as a fair and reasonable outcome for professionals who put their lives on the line every day.

“I make no apology for awarding firefighters. After all, they leave their families to run toward the danger to keep my family and every Victorian family safe,” Mr Andrews said. “When you need a firefighter, you can’t pay them enough.”

He called the agreement “fair [and] appropriate” and said that some of the analysis of the total package went far beyond reasonable assumptions that had been relied upon to draft it.

“I think we’ve seen a situation where every single entitlement has been added together to give an impression which I don’t think, doesn’t really stand up,” Mr Andrew said.

“You’ve always got to look at the assumptions behind everything, and I think the assumptions have been, well, anyway, they speak for themselves.”

The deal comes at the end of more than five years uncertainty for the state’s firefighters who have been in limbo as the government has attempted to nut out a new workplace agreement between the MFB, the Country Fire Authority and the United Firefighters Union.

As the government has worked to ease tensions between warring parties, it has been forced to fight challenges on a separate front with persistent allegations of bullying, harassment and rampant sexism throughout ranks of the state’s firefighting forces.

The government has tasked the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission to compile a report into the bullying and harassment allegations, which has not been released.

Leaked details of the report — which the UFU is attempting to block — revealed issues with bullying, “everyday sexism” and a “hyper- masculine culture” in the MFB.

On Tuesday, a government statement said that the new enterprise agreement and other measures to boost diversity in the services would help tackle the bullying issue.

“There have already been a number of significant reviews that have shown serious cultural and diversity issues within Victoria’s fire services — and that’s why we are delivering on reforms to our fire services,” a government spokesman said.

Other generous provisions in the deal include a generous sign on bonus of $3000.

With regard to the new “pressing necessity” leave entitlement which means fireys can take up to four days leave each time a family member takes ill or needs care, the definition of “immediate family” has also been expanded to include niece and nephews.

There are questions surrounding whether a new “after hours disturbance” allowance would allow fireys for answering or receiving emails while they are not rostered on.

Deputy Premier James Merlino said the deal would cost around $150 million during its lifetime.

He was unable to reveal what proportion of that total was made up by overtime provisions.

Already, the government is facing scrutiny on whether the agreement could serve as a blueprint for other emergency services to get more generous pay deals.

When asked if paramedics and police and other emergency services workers deserved the same conditions, Mr Andrews said that the government had already presided over a “very significant pay rise” for ambulance paramedics.

“I’m very pleased for us all to be reminded that we’ve given very significant pay rises to our ambulance paramedics, fair and balanced pay rises and legislated nurse to patient ratios to our nurses and our midwives,” Mr Andrews said.

“Rather than promising and then failing to deliver for our teachers ... we have negotiated in good faith with our teachers, our police ... it’s a long list.”


‘Everyone has lost the plot’: Press Club lost in International Women’s Day hysteria


I’m not a big fan of International Women’s Day. What’s the message: that women’s issues are irrelevant during the other 364 days of the year?

And let’s face it, there is an international day for just about everything under the sun — puppetry, laboratory animals, Star Wars, tuberculosis, migratory birds, oral health, cancer, tourism, hand washing and, my personal favourite, vasectomy, among others. The International Day of [fill in the gap] brand has been seriously degraded.

But if International Women’s Day is to mean anything, it surely means that women want to be judged in the same way as men. No special treatment, rather merit-based assessment irrespective of gender.

Sure, there is a useful discussion to be had about how merit is defined and measured and whether there are some implicit biases that impact on assessments. But gender equality must mean women and men working side-by-side, in respectful and constructive ways. Feminism is not hatred of men.

So how could it be that a male journalist was treated so discourteously by the Press Club crowd — overwhelmingly female, by the way — when he posed a political question to Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek?

To be sure, the question was not about women’s issues. By the way, if I had been there, I wouldn’t have asked her about a question about women’s issues. The answer would have been predictable and high-level.

It was too good an opportunity for journalists to seek out the views of a senior politician on an important and current political issue — in this case, Labor’s wavering support for the Adani coal mine.

And let’s face it, Plibersek is no single-issue politician. She is perfectly adept at addressing, but not answering, a politically tricky question if needs be. You know the sort of thing — I’m glad you asked me that question (although she didn’t have the grace yesterday to preface her answers to the serious questions posed by the journalist), on the one hand and on the other, blah, blah, blah.

In fact, Plibersek might have been well-advised to stick to topics other than women’s issues because she demonstrated an alarming ignorance about economics when she dealt with the gender pay gap. But I guess economics has never been her strong suit.

And let’s not forget that women workers exhibit consistently higher levels of job satisfaction than male workers. Now that could have been the basis of an interesting question to Plibersek, be it posed by a female or male journalist.

Let me just put it out there: I think everyone has lost the plot. To be sure, some women are treated shabbily in the workplace. But some men are too. Women and men should unite to ensure that workplaces are civil and positive places rather than women waging a dubious us-versus-them campaign where it is entirely possible that women will come off second-best.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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