Malcolm Fraser, one of Australia’s longest serving prime ministers (1975-1983) was recently quoted talking about the origins of the multicultural policies his government initiated, in The Australian newspaper on 21 May 2009, “Death of a leader of cultural revolution Jerzy Jubrzycki”.
Mr. Fraser agreed with Prof. Zubrzycki, the intellectual father of multiculturalism in Australia, that the country was a “narrow, Anglo-Saxon society . . . up to, if you like, the Second World War." "[Prof. Zubrzycki] believed passionately that people should be treated as equal, and that being a good Australian didn't require people to give up their country of origin." "John Howard didn't like the word multiculturalism . . . But you've only got to walk down any street in Melbourne and Sydney to know that it's already too late - we are, in fact, a multicultural society.”
These remarks summarize Mr. Fraser’s support for multiculturalism over the years. They indicate an unsympathetic attitude towards Anglo Australia and a revealing use of the multiculturalism concept.
In principle it can be fair to criticize a society for being narrow. It is true that in 1945 Australian cities lacked cultural amenities and that our diet was due for a change. But we were still developing the continent, having begun from scratch in 1788. In that time we had built towns and cities and had one of the most productive economies in the world. Our British heritage made us one of the world’s few liberal democracies. We had a flourishing culture, from opera to popular. That’s quite an achievement in only 157 years.
However, Mr. Fraser goes beyond alleging narrowness. His words imply criticism of Australia’s core ethnicity. Our narrowness consisted of our Anglo-Celtic ethnicity. In other words, being of British ethnicity was a disability. The country was too Anglo-Celtic.
In addition Mr. Fraser’s comments reveal some of his notions about just what multiculturalism is. He links anti-Anglo prejudice to the formation of multicultural doctrine: it was Jerzy Zubrzycki’s reaction to “narrow, Anglo-Saxon society”. How to interpret this other than that Australia was too Anglo for Professor Zubrzycki’s taste? Mr. Fraser clearly shares this taste. Note that in the 1950s when Prof. Zubrzycki arrived from Poland Australia was overwhelmingly Anglo-Celtic because non-British immigration had only begun in earnest in 1949. Australia’s ethnicity was a local variant of British ethnicity. Most felt that way. We had just participated in a second world war entered into to defend mother England.
Mr. Fraser also expresses the aspect of multiculturalism that emphasises civil rights—that people from different cultures should be treated equally. But he again goes further with his remark that one can observe that Australia is multicultural by strolling around Melbourne and Sydney. What he is saying is that multiculturalism is the same as ethnic diversity. But cannot a society achieve perfect multiculturalism by tolerating or celebrating the ethnic cultures of all its citizens whatever their proportion of the population? Mr. Fraser implies otherwise: Australia is more successfully multi-cultural the more diverse it becomes. Hence the slap at John Howard: “it’s already too late”. This confirms the suspicion that for multiculturalists traditional Australians were always the “other”, always the antagonistic group to be combated. Especially this second kind of multiculturalism is compatible with minority chauvinism and an aggressive attitude towards Anglo-Celtic Australians.
The two faces of multiculturalism—the original rights-based type and the pro-diversity type—have very different implications for immigration policy. Rights-based multiculturalism is compatible with selective immigration. Logically, a government might simultaneously promote respect for the right of all citizens to express their ethnic identities and yet defend the group interests of the majority ethny by emphasizing immigration from Britain and other European-derived societies. That would be democratic. A pro-multicultural government might adopt a similar immigration policy for different reasons—to protect national cohesion and guarantee the long-term viability of multiculturalism.
Obviously this is not how multiculturalism has operated. It has always been linked to mass Third World immigration, confirming the interpretation of Mr. Fraser as treating Anglo-Celtic Australians as adversaries.
What remains unexplained is why someone like Mr. Fraser, ostensibly a conservative Anglo, should treat his own people so distantly. Why the hostility?
"Why the hostility?" Good question. Why is it that elites in not only Australia, but throughout the Western world, so loathe their own people to the point where they actively seek to replace them through mass Third World immigration?
"The Misguided Advocates of Open Borders" - Salter's 2010 Quadrant article on the poor quality of analysis behind Australia's abandonment of traditional assimilationist immigration policies.