Australia: Hinge or Cringe – your call.

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Introduction

Australia’s pseudo race based debate around immigration often misses one point: Immigration can provide the ethnic mix that would allow Australia to become the centre of global trade and cultural interaction. Hinge or Cringe is the choice as I frame it.

Hinge or Cringe: Your call.

Australia has a once in a multi-generational opportunity to become the centre of the world.

·                            We know we are in the ideal future time zone.
·                            We know we are in the ideal future geography.
·                            But have we thought of ourselves as having the ideal cultural mix?

Australia has an opportunity that will last for many generations for us to be either:

·                            The hinge point between the Anglo-Saxon world on one hand and the Asian and Islamic world on the other, or
·                            The Cringe Point between the two worlds.

Glenn Withers, the chief of Universities Australia said recently that the negativity surrounding Australian public debate on population, migration and refugees is “creating an impression that we are not welcoming students or even welcoming visitors.” I commented on this recently in my blog around the downturn in education here.

I have also recently commented on the need for Australia to change the dialogue on immigration and refugees here and here, and I have called for us to value our multicultural mix more here.

If the negative image is impacting on education, we would be crazy to think that it is not impacting on other areas of the economy. After all, those in business know that, if given a choice, people prefer to do business with people they like.

Are we creating an image of an unlikable country in the way we are conducting the refugee, population and immigration debate. The education sector would suggest that we are.

We must urgently change this national dialogue if we are to grasp the opportunity that our nation is being offered for the first time in many generations, and an opportunity that will last for many generations.

We can be that hinge point between the Anglo-Saxon world on one hand and the Asian and Islamic world on the other. But we can only do that if we are trusted and liked by all sides.

Australia – time for us to decide: Hinge or Cringe.


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