I had passed the official Australian citizenship practice test. I scored 19 out of 20. A screenshot of the result is attached in the Appendix. The question that I got wrong was “What happened in Australia on 1 January 1901?” The question had three options: a) The Australian Constitution came into effect; b) The Australian Constitution was changed by a referendum; and c) The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps was formed. The correct answer of this question is option ‘a’ (The Australian Constitution came into effect), however, I answered it to be the option ‘c’. Other than this question I got others right.
Pauline Hanson, the One Nation Senator, had delivered the speech that was divisive and controversial. She had declared in public that most of the Australian population wants the immigration policy of the country to be reviewed again. The comments she made on immigration, multiculturalism and aboriginal were nothing but an outcome of a racist mentality. She criticized the aboriginal people because they call Australia as their own land. She also expressed her worry about the immigration policy of Australia as she thinks the country would be in danger as it is soon will be swamped by the Asians because they will form the ‘ghettos’ and will not assimilate with the main land people. I was quite shocked hearing this speech as this was totally unexpected. I could not think that someone from her position can make such a racist comment and it would be heard by the majority of the Australian population. While Pauline was expressing her view about the concept of multiculturalism and immigration policy of the country in front of other politicians, I could feel that they themselves were embarrassed hearing her speech. Her speech reflects a racist mentality an stereotyping and considering the Asians as a whole, a community where all are from ghettos. Even as an Indigenous Australian, I do not think that I could agree with her. Her speech definitely did not please the Asian community in Australia who feel proud to be a part of the country. However, she as a politician represents the majority of the population, but her speech did not really reflect the mindset of the Australian population. It was entirely said from her own point of view. I am not at all a supporter of this speech. I do not think she had consulted anyone before giving this speech, so this speech was not really the voice of Australia.
While Kevin Rudd spoke to the Australian people in 2008, he had termed his apology speech as “this blemished chapter in our national history”. It was his first act as the prime minister. In his opening federal parliament, he had an apology speech to the Islander and Aboriginal people. Many thought that t was a long due sorry speech. He has given this speech expressing apology for “the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians”. The words were healing and challenging at the same time and it spoke the hurt that was inside the Indigenous youth as around ten to thirty percent Aboriginal children were taken from their families by force. He had apologized to the families for breaking them up. It was an emotional moment as an Indigenous Australian. It was a moment when the entire country was being asked for reconciling with the past event. The speech was an apology that sought mercy as a return. After the days of failure, treachery and bitterness this speech created a history with itself. This speech felt as a long due unfinished business by the politicians who had considered commenting anything on the racial discrimination and its related topics as a ‘politically dangerous’ business.
Poh Ling Yeow, the cook, Television presenter and an artist expressed her experience as the child immigrant. She said when she moved in this country as an child immigrant she had felt different and she wanted to leave everything that made her feel different in the new country. She wanted to be one of the Australian. This feeling or the sense of belongingness is an emotional need of all human selves. No matter, whether its family or the friend groups, co workers, religious groups or anything else, all of us tend to have the feeling or an inherent desire of feeling as a significant part of the groups. This sense of belonging is the urgent need of receiving and giving in a group. This is a strong inevitable feeling of the human nature. However, this sense of belonging may occur to someone because of their own choices or the choices of other people as well. It cannot be expected that all of us t=have the similar nature and interest, therefore we do not belong to a similar person or thing or nature. Without this sense of belonging, we cannot recognize our own selves; we cannot identify each of us in a transparent way. Therefore one may have issues with communication and relating to the surroundings.
As an Aboriginal being, I feel that I belong to my family, my community and my country. It is a comfort zone for me. I feel safe here and I do not have any issues here to communicate or to connect to them. I feel this is a fundamental need for my being.
Here Mick Dodson, the Co Chair reconciliation Australia has expressed his view about having a difference with the society and how it can affect the human nature. Having a difference is never an easy thing to bear with. It is not a simple thing. If someone has the feeling of being different to others in his or her surroundings, they would like to build a relationship. It is totally a part of human nature. We always try to fit in. We do not want to an exception in general. We love to be mediocre; we want to stay in the crowd. Even we always feel that we have an extra burden on us because we wanted to fit in. Most of us feel that we have a gap between our real self and the one we want to be. For instance, if a girl has been of a tomboyish character while growing up, after certain age she may feel that she is something different. She is not being able to do what the other girls do. This sense of not fitting into the society may change her attire and her entire attitude about life. However, I think it is a vague concept; we should stop to try to fit in the society and be our real selves.
The term While Australia Policy refers to a combination of several historical policies that could bar the people from the non European root to immigrate into Australia. However, theer was never any such policy literally but this term was coined due to the collection of several policies that had been designed to keep out the immigrants especially from Asia and the Pacific Islands in Australia. However, soon after the country had turned into a federation, the Immigration Act of 1901 was passed. This bill was passed because of commencing the While Australia Policy as any government policy. This had allowed the British immigrants to get an upper hand over other immigrants. However this policy has been dismantled at different stages by the government after the end of Second World War. The Holt and Menzies Governments have dismantled this policy between the years 1949 and 1966 and later the Whitlam government had passed several laws that has ensured that no race will be discriminated in the country and no immigrant will be a subject of disgrace.
Even if we take pride as a multicultural country we are surrounded by several differences. We feel having a little difficulty when someone who is different from ourselves moving to our next door. I know my neighbors were not all happy when my family moved in to our present house. They looked at us in an anxious way and did not want to trust us at the very first place. This is also a part of human nature that we always want our surrounding to be like us and we are scared of diversities. However, the time has changed and now the situation is a lot different than it was a decade ago. We do not feel that much anxious while we see someone who is a little different from others. We live in a country that welcomes the multiculturalism and we take pride because of that. We need to accept that this is a possible outcome of globalization and the world has turned into a global village. We should welcome people, not disgrace them.
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