Were immigrants being encouraged to play in their own sand-pits?

This question needs considering. Until relatively recently, there were few non-Anglo politicians; it would have been difficult to break into existing political party structures. There was also a sudden interest by political parties in harnessing the so-called ethnic vote. This led to opportunities for ethnic enhancement through appointments to newly-created national ethnic advisory agencies; to encouraging the formation of state-wide and (subsequently) nation-wide organisations co-ordinating ethnic community groups; the formation of multicultural advisory agencies in each state and territory; and the establishment of duplicate structures for the delivery of settlement services.

By the late 1970s, the federal government was alleged to be deficient in assisting immigrants to settle into their adopted nation; only ethnic agencies and ethnic social workers could do the job properly.

Unlike nations which might endeavour to keep identifiable their ethno-tribal communities for political advantage, Australia encourages an eventual blending. It has been successful to date.

The following extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ identify the success of this merging.

“By setting up a separate political career path, were the Anglo-Celt politicians seeking to have the ‘ethnics’ play in their own sand-pit? At that time there were few ethnic politicians; even today, one might ask: how many ethnics are there in federal or state Cabinet?

A major issue in multicultural policy is why those I describe as professional ethnics choose not to eventually integrate (not assimilate) into the values and practices of the mainstream population in the nation that they or their predecessors chose to enter. Assimilation is total absorption, as with salt in soup. Integration is akin to each chunk of vegetable or protein remaining distinctively separate while being a coherent ingredient in the soup, giving the soup a characteristic flavour, aroma and taste. Lumps of inedible fat or gristle cannot be said to be integrated into the soup, and make no contribution to the soup.

… … A policy of assimilation did apply to the Aborigines. On the other hand, immigrants were expected to integrate, recognising that it could take up to 3 generations before the immigrants’ tribal culture blends in with the prevailing host culture. Logically, this host culture would be one that continues to evolve as new ingredients are added through time.

This has been adequately demonstrated in the period following the massed initial arrival of those (in the 1950s and 1960s) then commonly referred to as wogs.

Those who have sought to have the country’s primary characteristics modified to suit themselves, that is, to flaunt their cultural difference (and superiority?) may be unaware that Australia had, in two phases over its brief history, created a single people from immigrants of diverse origins.

First, the various arrivals from the British Isles, plus an assemblage of non-British original settlers, integrated themselves progressively into the Anglo-Celt Australian (the sectarian war excepted). The few coloured minorities amongst these settlers may not, of course, have enjoyed equal opportunity. The indigene’s role was worse – simply to be exploited. Then the post-Second World War settlers from Europe, with a scattering from various parts of the world, joined with the Anglo-Australian host to gradually create a cosmopolitan multi-ethnic modern-day Australian.

The few early coloured immigrants (like me) simply waited for the nation to mature, aided by the growth of independent Asian nations which would inevitably look askance at a white nation sitting isolated in coloured seas.”