Wednesday, 19 September 2018
Statements by Senators
On 17 August last year I wore a burqa in the Senate to confront the Senate over failed immigration policy. The burqa puts the issues of extremism, gender equality and integration front and centre of the immigration debate. It is time we deal with our failed immigration policy, which has seen culturally separate communities establish themselves near our major cities, funded by our welfare system. Integration is the subject of public and political debate but little progress is being made, because the fools on the left side of politics are acting like ostriches with their heads in the sand.
In Denmark, citizenship is available only to those applicants resident for nine years who have been self-supporting for four out of the previous five years. Additionally, applicants need to evidence cultural competence and knowledge, including language skills and knowledge of society. To gain citizenship in Australia, you only need to be a resident for four years, one year on a permanent visa, and then get 12 out of 20 questions right in a multiple-choice test.
In July this year the Danish government announced that it would introduce new laws to regulate all aspects of life in low-income and heavily-Muslim enclaves in an attempt to bring this group into Danish society. The proposal includes mandatory day care, for a minimum of 30 hours a week, for children up to the age of six so that they can participate in a course on Danish values such as gender equality, community participation and co-responsibility.
Additionally, the Danish government proposes withdrawing social benefits from parents whose children miss more than 15 per cent of the school term. Controversially, the Danish government also proposes a possible four-year prison sentence for immigrant parents who take their children on extended visits to their country of origin in a way that the government determines compromises the children's schooling, language and wellbeing. Children are a focal point for immigration policy because they learn languages faster, make friends more easily and more rapidly adapt to their new culture and customs. Denmark is not the only country in Europe taking this approach, because German asylum applicants, including children, go through integration courses to learn about Germany and German values.
It is time to call a spade a spade. We have heavy concentrations of overseas-born near our major cities, and the patterns of settlement suggest that the past pattern of integration will not continue. Let me be clear, I am talking about a minority of Australian Muslims. I recognise and appreciate the hardworking Australian Muslims who have embraced our democracy and values and who do not support an extreme ideology. If we want to avoid the European problems with immigration, we need to ensure a permanent visa and citizenship are given only to those people who integrate into Australia and work.
We take migrants from regions with vastly different customs and practices to those in Australia, including their attitude towards women. When the women of the left side of this chamber stood and clapped the Attorney-General as he berated me for wearing a burqa, we saw the clearest contrast between the right and the left side of politics. I saw the fools on the opposition benches pander to minorities without realising the implications of creeping Islamic fundamentalism in our society. Islamic fundamentalism has emptied the Middle East of Christian communities, and many of those people have come here and are frightened by what they see. Oxford Imam and scholar, Taj Hargey, says he is frustrated that white feminists are defending women in burqas because all they do is support misogynist and patriarchal attitudes to women which see women as chattel—possessions and belongings. Dr Taj Hargey suggests that those who bend over backwards to Islamist fanatics are suffering a white guilt complex and do not understand that the burqa signs the arrival of Sharia law, which entrenches women as second-class citizens.
If you don't think that women are being treated as second-class citizens in Australia, then you must have your eyes closed. Only last week, Sydney Muslim preacher, Nassim Abdi, from Auburn in Western Sydney said that wives who refuse to have sex with their husbands have committed a sin. His sermon drew outrage from outside that community, but it also illustrated our failed immigration policy that will not recognise that these comments represent the norm in some Islamic countries. What makes politicians think migrants with very different attitudes and beliefs will give them up just because we give them a permanent visa and citizenship?
Australians have had enough of the complacency of pro-immigration elites. We have been giving about 230,000 permanent visas a year to those born overseas. Despite the misleading statements by the government and Labor, permanent immigration accounts for most of Australia's population growth because our natural rate of increase is low. In 2016-17, a total of 40,000 permanent visas were issued to people from sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East. We have issued 291,975 permanent visas to people from these regions in the past decade. These regions have vastly different cultural norms to those in Australia, including polygamist unions, child marriage, female genital mutilation and the rejection of gender equality. These customs and practices have not been given up on arrival in Australia and they have financial consequences funded by the taxpayer through the healthcare system and through Centrelink. The Australian Medical Association in 2017 reported on the extent of female genital mutilation and found in one hospital in Melbourne over 600 women a year are being treated for female genital mutilation. This is just one hospital in Australia and does not include the horrific injuries sustained by young girls who end up in the children's hospitals of Australia. These injuries are lifelong for these individuals and costly for the taxpayer.
Of course additional health costs are just one issue. I recently interviewed South Australian imam Mohammad Tawhidi, who told me that Centrelink is the new mosque. He told me of a man with four wives and 11 children who lived on Centrelink benefits and was able to pay off more than one home. Centrelink is not meant to be a way of life. I want to know when the government will stop funding polygamist unions and encouraging people to have more children than they can afford. Why should the taxpayer be working to support a man who does not want to work and has more children than he can afford to look after? Why should women who make themselves unemployable be funded by the taxpayer? The government has thrown in the towel, with the result that money that should go into aged care and disability services is going to fund polygamy.
It is time we acknowledge the failures of multiculturalism and find solutions before we find ourselves with European-scale problems. The Labor vision of multicultural society was never meant to be one of multicultural separatism. There have been successes, and I acknowledge hardworking Asian families. Most Australians think multiculturalism has been good for Australia because we appear to have absorbed a number of culturally diverse migrants, but high levels of immigration and heavy concentrations of overseas-born migrants around our major cities threaten our future and the future of our children.
A growing number of people in Australia cannot speak English well or at all—over a million people. If we are to maintain social cohesion and economic prosperity, we need people to read, write and speak English. Too many federal electorates now have populations where more than 50 per cent of people were born overseas. It is clear we cannot manage. We need to reconsider the level and mix of permanent migrants to Australia, because we are heading down a dead-end road at 90 miles per hour and it is going to end in tears.