Adaptation and settlement

Soon after the end of World War Two, Australia opened its doors to much-needed immigrants (white, of course, having regard to the prevailing White Australia policy). Offered equal opportunity, which was underpinned by the fabled ‘fair-go’ ethos of the Australian working class, non-English speaking immigrants from Europe had good reason to learn English as quickly as possible, and to fit into their nation of choice.

Apart from some Australians of a superior colonial mien, who had forgotten that their land had been acquired from black indigenes by invasion, not by invitation, the foreigners were initially tolerated, then embraced; their offspring reportedly have done better in life (because of a superior work ethic?). See my ‘Karma of Culture’ which sets out the issues involved as I see them.

Successful immigrant settlement does involve careful screening and selection. The applicant for migrant or refugee entry has to be seen as capable of adapting successfully to the host nation, and willing to be a coherent part of it, rather than to set up camp and refuse to integrate; there can be no place for tribal superiority in a relatively new nation still finding its feet.

Until recent times, there has been little evidence of the formation of what used to referred to as ghettos. That might be because of the settlement assistance available, the access to equal opportunity  processes, and a reciprocity of response by the immigrants recognising that they are not to be cheap  fodder for the workforce.


The need for stability in daily life


Since many explanations about existence of relevance to us all are, in my view, no more than unproven or unprovable theories, most of us live our lives as sensibly as we can, seeking stability on Earth too. However, in modern times, migration into foreign climes is a feature of societal existence, disrupting the pre-existing stability. I was one of the intruders, as was my father in another country.

While the new arrivals learn to give up those of their cultural practices which contradict the institutions and leading mores of the host nation, the host people learn to reciprocally modify their earlier views of the intrusive arrivals. Where the arrivals are needed and are thereby eventually welcomed, migrant settlement assistance can be provided by both good-hearted individuals and a responsible government. Thus, daily life can continue, with mutual adaptation, to ensure societal stability.

See my first book ‘Destiny Will Out: the experiences of a multicultural Malayan in White Australia.’ The book is based on my experiences, both as an immigrant settler, and a public official responsible for migrant settlement policies. The great success of Australia’s massive immigration and settlement programs are brought out in the book.

Crucial questions do arise. Should not immigrants offer benefits to the nation they seek to join which exceeds the costs associated with their entry? Should not entry be through the front door – through careful selection – than through forced entry by the back door? How much stress can a resident population cope with, through an on-going entry of immigrants and asylum seekers of increasing ethno-cultural diversity? Are not residents entitled to a life of reasonable stability?