Australia a nation of immigrants

Dear Sir,

How about we pass over the words that Mr Ikonomou (TWT 19/04/2017) has put into my mouth? How about we observe as self-evident that a history lesson and an opinion are not the same thing? Instead, let us focus on what is important.

Australia has flourished since the second world war as a nation of immigrants. The debt of enrichment that we owe to the refugees of war-torn Europe is so apparent and articulated that there is no need to spell it out here.

Mr Ikonomou’s view of the Vietnamese community is a sad one indeed.

80,000 were accepted by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser in the 1970s and there are now over 200,00 Vietnamese-born Australians. These people are a valued part of our community. One of those refugees, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, is now the Governor of South Australia.

Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s gesture to allow 42,000 Chinese students stay in Australia as a result of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre was an action to be proud of, a gesture that goes to the very heart of Australian goodwill.

When family members followed in later years the number swelled to over 100,000. The Chinese community are a vital part of our society

It was interesting to read the interview with Mr Nairi Lepedjian in the same edition of the TWT about the Armenian massacre, in which he expressed so clearly the hurt and sense of dispossession that remains more than one hundred years later because too much of the world has turned a blind eye.

It also highlights another war-torn community that makes an important contribution to this country. The current Australian Ambassador to the USA, Mr Joe Hockey, is from the Armenian community.

I was tempted to address Mr Grao’s fascist letter in the same TWT edition until I realised that it is a hero for Britain that he yearns for, not for Australia.

It is indeed vital that we are vigilant in the protection of our borders against threats to the state and criminal activities; equally we must be vigilant against the xenophobia in our community as espoused by Pauline Hanson and as found evident in these letters.

Mr Ikonomou might more usefully direct his outrage at the deprivation of liberty suffered by those innocent people imprisoned on Nauru and Manus Islands, or at the unacceptably high numbers of incarcerated indigenous people, or at the atrocious number of domestic violence deaths in this country.



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