With its new multiculturalism policy, detailed by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen last night, Labor has really gone back to its values. They’re values I share. They’re talking about fairness for all people, people from different backgrounds, different cultures. They emphasise the primacy of Australian values and laws, everyone always has, but that doesn’t prevent people from having an affection for the land of their birth, it doesn't stop them respecting old traditions.
While we were always an immigrant nation it was a somewhat narrower Australia, especially from foundation up to World War II -- Ango-Saxon, Keltic Irish, but still with a very sharp sectarian divide. It was not uncommon for people to say that Catholics weren't true Australians because they had their allegiance to the Pope. After many painful years we've grown out of that. In the post-World War II years most parties refused to play politics with race or religion. I think the great wave of migration that has done so much for Australia in so many different ways, improving the quality of life for every Australian, would not have been possible without it.