Migrants must integrate by learning English
CONGRATULATIONS to columnist Mike O'Connor (C-M, Aug 4) for having the guts to say what needed to be said.
He will now have the experience of being pilloried by the rabble rousers and branded a racist for stating the bleeding obvious.
While many may find the views of Pauline Hanson objectionable, her views resonate with large sections of the Australian community, whether or not she receives their vote.
Her views on the pandemic response in Melbourne are understandable and probably true.
Many immigrants to Australia come here to enjoy our social and political freedoms and the generous economic support of the Australian taxpayer but choose not to integrate, and more importantly avoid gaining a mastery of English.
If a person can't understand English, either spoken or written, government directions as evidenced in the latest pandemic crisis in Melbourne will not be complied with and, in this situation, endanger the wider community.
As with many things that have been discovered about the functioning of society during the pandemic, this situation has highlighted the need for immigrants to embrace Australia, our culture and our language.
It is not possible to integrate into any country or culture without the ability to communicate in the native language.
Perhaps the time has come for Australia to be a bit more selective as to who comes here and to toughen up the criteria for acceptance.
Geoff Roberts, Brendale
MIKE O'Connor made note of Pauline Hanson's comment about immigrants being happy to enjoy the benefits of living in Australia, but being unwilling to learn English.
This was not always the case.
After World War II, when there were many displaced Europeans who came to Australia, they were very happy to assimilate.
The ABC used to run a daily radio program called English for New Australians (which we, as children, thought was hilarious, as it was very basic and the announcer enunciated her words really clearly).
However, it would not have been aired had the government of the day not thought it was worthwhile.
In addition, many immigrants went to work on the Snowy Mountains Scheme, which ran its own English classes.
In the early 2000s, I was a volunteer English as a Second Language tutor for TAFE to women in their own homes, as they were unable to get to a TAFE because they had no transport or had toddlers etc.
They were also very happy to receive English lessons.
I don't know what has changed that has made people reluctant to learn English these days. Having enclaves of non-English speakers is not a helpful situation.
Hazel Hillier, Springwood
MIKE O'Connor misses the fact that many of those he targets are busy working in jobs "Aussies" will not do, and often across several jobs.
The largest groupings of COVID infections in Victoria have been among meat and poultry workers, transport and distribution employees and, importantly, aged care workers.
All these people are getting on with paying their own way in making a new life in Australia. They should be honoured, supported and encouraged, not derogated.
Pauline Hanson and O'Connor, like most of us, come from immigrant stock yet fail to welcome and encourage the latest cohorts of immigrants.
That is their, and our nation's, loss.
O'Connor might remind himself that 150 years ago the same sort of derogatory comments were made about Irish immigrants to the Australian colonies.
Fortunately the arrival of federation and the "white Australia" creed brought them in from the cold.
Now, again, new immigrants do the jobs locals will not.
William Forgan-Smith, Norman Park
IT'S difficult to work out what lies behind Mike O'Connor's latest logic-defying bluster.
Is it hypocrisy or ignorance?
Freedom of speech does not come with a guarantee of a platform from which to express your views.
And even if you do get a platform, imagining that it is therefore yours by right and in perpetuity is egotism.
Pauline Hanson lost her spot on TV for a simple reason.
Commercial media makes its money by selling advertising space. The more viewers/readers, the more they can charge.
They retain popular talent and ditch the material that attracts low ratings or turns people away.
As it turns out, Hanson fits that description to a tee. She's not the voice silenced by outrage, she's the voice silenced by disinterest.
Stephen Morgan, Carina Heights
FINES NOT A DETERRENT
ARE there any consequences for those who break curfew and lie on their border passes?
I assume they are fined. What are the consequences if they do not pay the fine? As far as I can see none.
Will they be charged and thrown in jail? I doubt it.
In Victoria, the government has announced record fines if people break curfew. What is the point?
The politicians, to be honest, have so far done a good job, however people continue to flout the law.
Maybe a few months in jail will tell people that governments are fair dinkum about punishing those who are selfish and have no consideration for the welfare of others.
Every state Premier has threatened to jail offenders.
They can all talk the talk but whether they can walk the walk remains to be seen.
Tony Miles, Chermside
COVID VOTE ADVANTAGE
WE HAVE all been inconvenienced by COVID-19.
The majority of us have done the right thing by behaving according to our health department requests.
What concerns me is that voters will forget what the longstanding issues have been in Queensland.
Regardless of what political persuasion you are, I hope voters can make an informed decision at the October 31 election.
Please do not let emotion decide where your vote goes.
I believe that, in this country, all state and territory governments, with one exception, have done a very good job in handling the pandemic.
I would also point out that anyone in the position of power would have done an equally good job with the procedures and processes that are in place for times of emergency.
It is a huge advantage for the current leader to stand up before the media every day and look good.
The opposition has no way of countering this advantage as it would seem churlish to criticise too much at this time.
If we vote with an attitude of rewarding a job done in crisis, and forget what problems a government has been responsible for previously, then perversely, the leader of a government could be very appreciative of the opportunity to have a disaster.
Michael Jones, The Gap
TIME TO END FUEL PRICE VARIANCES
THERE is no doubt in my mind that the big oil companies, through their retail service station outlets, are bleeding consumers money dry and are conning them with their selective and brutal pricing regimes.
My wife and I spent a few days in Warwick last weekend with family, and before heading off on Friday, we filled up our car at Inala, paying 143.9 cents a litre for 91-octane fuel, a price that had risen from 109.5 cents a litre a day or so before.
To our amazement we found at Warwick that the same grade fuel at the few fuel outlets there was 112 cents a litre.
Why are the federal government and regulators allowing this rip-off to occur?
I remember the old days of "price control", even on a simple item such as toothpaste.
Everyone got a fair go and their rightful share. Prices went up incrementally with CPI and everyone was happy.
Despite so-called "price parity", and crude oil on the international markets at the lowest price for years, our gutless governments are allowing the "Big Boys" of the fuel industry to run riot on pricing whenever they choose.
Fuel prices drop very slowly, but then rise 40 cents a litre at a minute's notice, which is a significant hit in the hip pocket of consumers, especially at this time of economic downturn and uncertainty.
I know "free trade" is now the norm, but paying a fair price for the end product by the consumer is an important ingredient in any consumer industry.
Les Bryant, Durack
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Originally published as Migrants must integrate by learning English