Parrots – parrots from the left
and right – might squawk about racism and ethnic strife, but it seems
that Australians are overwhelmingly relaxed and comfortable about

How many weeks of riots did the French enjoy?
How many cars are still being torched each night on estates around the
country? Compare that with – what – two days of trouble in Sydney and
the odd nutter still on the street.

So no wonder Newspoll
has told us today that 70% of Australians support
multiculturalism, less than a quarter think it’s bad, and 7% can’t make up their minds.

Australians are a laid back, sensible and largely tolerant people – as the poll and Dennis Shanahan’s write up of it in The Australian show:

After the widespread publicity and debate over the
beachside race riots in Sydney, a Newspoll survey, taken exclusively
for The Australian last weekend, has found support for multiculturalism
has fallen from 78% in 1997 to 70%.

biggest declines in support during the years of the Howard Government
have been among Coalition supporters, down 13 points; those on incomes
below $30,000, down 12 points; and those aged over 50, down 10 points.

for multiculturalism remains strongest among the young, down 4 points
to 80%, and those earning more than $70,000 a year, down 7
points to 78%.

There was even a fall in support among
Labor supporters. They registered the highest level of support in 1997,
at 85%, but that had dropped by 10 points, to 75%, by
last weekend.

But there was still strong majority support in
every group for multiculturalism, with the lowest being among those
aged over 50.

Community views on the level of racism in
Australia have remained unchanged over the nine years since January
1997, when 44% of voters said they thought Australian society
was racist.

In 2003 the racist figure was 43% and last weekend it was 44%.

But there has been a decline in how Australians view themselves on the question of tolerance.

In 1997, 56% said Australians were tolerant. It rose to 59% in 2003 and fell to 53% last weekend.

if you want to draw a conclusion about racism in Australia from this
data, suck on this: racial tension in Australia is the miserable
b*stard offspring of John Howard’s wedge politics of downward envy –
and self-flagellation by the bleeding heart left.

The Australian’sleader on the subject
is a silly piece about “obsessive Howard-haters and publicity-hungry
expats.” The paper, however, redeems itself with a perceptive and
intelligent commentary by CIS Research Fellow Andrew Norton on the “rules of tolerance that already enjoy wide support” in our country.

commentariat – left and right – refuses to acknowledge that there is a
difference between tribalism and racism, largely for their own ends.
Newspoll suggests the people they hector know better.

In his second to last column, Auberon Waugh
wrote of his delight at the “assurance that there is an intelligent,
sceptical England surviving under all the rubbish we see on television.”

Newspoll suggests we actually enjoy the same situation in Australia.
That means we should also heed another message from Waugh, this time
from the seventies: “There are countless horrible things happening all
over the country, and horrible people prospering but we must never
allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty
to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible.”