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Wednesday, September 07, 2011


On the Australian ABC’s ‘7.30 Report’ a week ago, ex-Prime Minister John Howard gave an interview about the ‘current state of the political landscape’ in Australia. Toward the end of the interview Howard made some remarks that highlighted and exposed his racism. He said:

There is a realisation, also, that the thing that binds countries together are common values and common beliefs, and the takeout of mine over the last 10 years is that the strongest bonds between nations are shared values and shared attitudes more than anything else.

He then went on to reinforce this notion by saying:

…I believe very strongly that what brings countries more closely together than anything else is our shared values. That is why, despite the economic significance of China - and it is very significant - America and Australia will always be closer than China and Australia because we have shared values. That's not to be critical of China or downplay the importance of the relationship, but just to emphasise that it's values that drives the strength of an alliance more than anything else. [My bold emphasis.]

One has to ask; what are these ‘values’ that Australia shares with America? Apart from speaking English and being generally Judeao-Christian in religious beliefs, there’s actually very little else we have in common. There was a time when we truly did have common values coming basically from the same British stock but those days are long gone as both countries evolved in differing ways that were dominated mainly by successive waves of different kinds of migrants into the two countries. For the US it was the influx of Africans as slaves to America and the earlier influence of the Spanish in the Americas while in Australia our society has become multicultural by virtue of its indigenous population, the influence of continental European migration and then latterly by Asian immigration – including Chinese – and even more recently by Middle Eastern and Central Asian migration.

John Howard lives in the past and refuses to accept that Australia is a truly multicultural nation and that our values have as much in common with China these days as they have with any other nation.

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