Aside from recent controversy over Australian values, Mr Ray Williams MP, Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Disability Services, in a recent exclusive interview to AMUST said that all Australians, irrespective of their faith and cultural background agree that you need to abide by the laws of this country.

They understand that anyone who steps outside of our laws will be punished.

Australian values, enshrined in our laws, are a sum total of values brought by waves of diverse migrants to this country from all over the world, thereby enriching the make-up of this country.

Australian culture again is a sum total of cultures brought over by migrants including their faith, cuisine, dress, festivals, family values and languages thereby making Australia a Multicultural society.

Those who have lived here for long and those who are new arrivals can learn and teach much more things from each other. With respect and in a mutual exchange of ideas we can discuss, debate and decide in our democratic society what we want Australia to be.

There should be a two-way traffic in education.

New migrants indeed need to learn about Australian culture, its laws and regulations, rights and responsibilities as new citizens of this nation.

Similarly, those of us living here for long can learn of new ideas from new migrants, appreciate the input from new cultures, thereby in this way, enriching ourselves.

Australian values are part and parcel of universal values, modified and adopted to our own location in our own era in a way that suits us all.

While we must sympathise with new migrants who face many challenges while settling in a new country, learning a new language, new skills for employment, adjusting to a new culture, initiatives must be taken by these migrants to get to know more about their new home.

The government and other migrant service providers should embark on an education program for new arrivals to make them understand their rights and responsibilities in living harmoniously in this country, abide by its laws and social and cultural norms and mode of behaviour.

We are not talking about assimilation, but integration in our Australian Society. We are many but we are one. I am you are we are Australian.

As Mr Williams has pointed out during the interview, there is no idea for the migrants to abandon their faith or culture or their previous identity, but to integrate this with their new Australian identity.

“…they should love this country and make a positive contribution to this country, but they should never forget where they’ve come from, never forget their background, their culture, their heritage and their religion. They should hold that dear,” Mr Williams further said.

New migrants have the freedom to have both identities, that of their home country, religion or culture as well as their Australian identity, loyalty to this country, its laws and regulations in order to live as full Australians and benefit from as well as contribute towards our Multicultural society.

Z I Ahmad