I read your Australian op-ed piece with great interest today. In it you talk about howAustralia (and all liberal democracies) should be more vocieforous in encouraging their immigrants to learn about Western values. I agree with you, I think we have many things to be proud of here in the West including the rule of law, legal equality between the sexes, the right to protest etc.
However, if people had to be tested on the values you claim are 'uniquely Australian' - 'giving others a fair go, tolerance and compassion' - how do you think your chums in the Howard Administration would fair?
Was Howard giving others a fair go in lying about refugees chucking their children overboard? Is locking asylum seekers up in detention centres on remote pacific islands a demonstration of his compassion towards others? Or how about his government's tolerance of gays?
The problem you have in trying to convince others they should live by our values is that those who actually run this country are utter hypocrites in this and seem to living by the maxim, 'Do as I say, not as I do'.
Maybe if the government of the day really embodied the values that they claim are typical of the Australian character then new immigrants to this country would subscribe to them. Otherwise, they are mere empty words designed simply to increase distrust between communities. I am against Sharia Law as much as you are Janet but I suspect that those who actually want it to be imposed in Australia are very very few in number. I'd hazard a guess that there are many more people in Australia that believe that it should return to a White Australia policy. That doesn't mean they are representative of Australia, it doesn't mean 'Australian Values' are under threat. All it means is that a few idiots live in Australia. Of course they should be confronted and tackled, as should Islamic Fundamentalists, but let's not pretend we are facing a major clash of civilisations.
Yours, lovingly as ever