As a Senator, a National and a proud Australian, I condemn the views expressed by Senator Fraser Anning on Tuesday.
Ours is a truly multicultural nation, one built by generations of hard-working migrants who sought a better future for their children. From the first Indigenous settlers who set foot upon this land tens of thousands of years ago, to the relatively recent arrival of the First Fleet and the subsequent boom in exploring the opportunities, this land held for those who were willing to give it a go.
We come from explorers, from convicts, from miners and farmers and entrepreneurs, all of whom came in search of something more. Australia would not be the great nation it is without the work of Chinese migrants during the gold rush; the Italian and Greek migrants after the Second World War who helped build the great Snowy Hydro Scheme; the “ten pound Poms” who came from dirty cities to wide open plains; the Vietnamese and Lebanese refugees… The list goes on and on. Sadly, there have always been those who disparage the newest arrivals, who point out what’s different instead of what we have in common, and that is this: The desire to work hard for a brighter future for our children.
Senator Anning said he wanted to fix immigration by reducing ethnocultural diversity”. Well I say this to Senator Anning, and those who believe Australia isn’t big enough to make room for people willing to have a go: Yes, our cities are overflowing, but our regions are not. Perhaps the Senator could better spend his efforts in encouraging hard-working migrants to move to the regions, where they will be able to make a great contribution to a great nation. Perhaps the Senator should cast his gaze not to the past and the days of the White Australia Policy, but to the future and the growth that we can achieve as a nation if we embrace those who want to work hard and have a go.
That is the Australia I’m proud to be part of, one that rewards an honest day’s work with an honest day’s pay, one that allows the aspirational migrants to give their families a better life than they may of otherwise had.