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If You Don’t Like Australia, Just Leave

If you don’t like Australia, why don’t you just leave? It’s a habit amongst many on the left of politics to dismiss people who say things along these lines as ignorant, racist and reactionary. Which, if you think about it, is pretty reactionary in itself. I think that the idea actually deserves a little consideration. And no, I haven’t lost my mind or suddenly become a racist, but I am rapidly losing all tolerance for the mindless, hysterical reactionism that is coming more and more to define our political discourse. So let’s think about this for a moment.

Let’s say you suddenly wake up in a country whose core values and laws are such that you can no longer abide by them. As I see it, you then have three options. You can:

  1. Whinge about it endlessly
  2. Become an insurgent
  3. Proceed in the general direction of ‘away’

If you are the sort of person whose first and only reaction to problems is option 1, then I’m afraid you’re dropped from the list of people who actually matter. So let’s move on and talk about option 2. Taking action in this way presents the western world with a challenging dichotomy. On the one hand, we have a long and proud tradition of civil disobedience as one of the safeguards of democracy, and there are many elements of our culture that would seem to actively encourage this. On the other hand, however, we have learned, since the latter half of the 20th century, to develop a whole new level of abhorrence for politically motivated violence. Should you become a political insurgent in this country, there is a very good chance that you will establish a new Guinness World Record for ‘Shortest Career in History’. In short, option 2 is a non-starter.

Which brings us to option 3 – leaving. I understand that for many people this seems unthinkable. It’s a very expensive process, for a start, and on top of that, many people who would take serious exception to Australian values were born here. So the question is not only how they are to leave, but why they even should. For me, the answer is simple. If you disagree violently with the values of your native or adoptive country, then it is by far preferable that you leave it rather than causing harm to the people with whom you share it. The world is a big and varied place and, whatever your values, there is a very good chance that you’re going to be able to find a corner of the globe where most people agree with you, no matter how crazy you might be. And if it matters that much, people generally find a way. But as pointed out, this is a major and often expensive step. So how should a person determine when it is no longer possible to stay here?

I think the test is a simple one. Firstly, identify the core values of the country that you live in. In the case of Australia, these values would include pluralism, tolerance and freedom of worship. If you find any of these values to be completely unacceptable, I’m sorry, but you probably don’t belong here. If you can’t tolerate the idea of Muslims trying to live and worship freely in our country and you think that the entirety of the Islamic religion should be expunged from the Australian community, then I’m afraid that you fail to share some of this country’s most fundamental values. That brand of intolerance really belongs elsewhere, like the Aryan brotherhood controlled wing of a US prison. Or the training camps of organisations like Al Qaeda or ISIS.

Tonight, the chairman of the Parramatta mosque, Neil el-Kadomi, is going to tell his congregation that anybody who doesn’t like Australia or Australian values should just leave. I wish to mirror this call. If you can’t get on board with the core Australian concepts of acceptance, tolerance and religious freedom, then you should pïss off too.

Category: Asinine, Islam, Politics


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