18 September 2006

A question of values

I can understand why people would want to reinforce Australian values among migrants. I can understand why people would expect that we respect Iraqi values when occupying Iraq.

What I don't understand is this odd doh-si-doh that Australians do when considering these matters. People who think it's shocking and outrageous that people should come here not knowing about Bradman, Phar Lap or Weary Dunlop are quite sanguine about rubbishing the culture of a country in which Australian troops have gone to reconstruct and rehabilitate. People who think Middle Eastern culture should be handled with kid gloves decry any notion that Australian culture (I am not talking about arts funding here) is worth asserting or defending.

What do Australians value? Is helping your mates when they're in trouble exclusively Australian? Are people who come here in rickety boats, or die trying, our mates? What is cultural sensitivity?

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