If you are anything like me you have read far too many opinion articles on what it is that caused the Cronulla incident. The choicest quote came from Cate Blanchett who gave us this gem: “It’s actually very clear and simple. Violence and racism are bad,” she said. “Whenever they occur, they are to be condemned and we should not turn a blind eye to them.” Actually Cate, it is incredibly complicated. Sydney and to a lesser extent Australia in general is reliant upon immigration and as a tool to plug holes in the age spread and in the skilled labour spread to keep our economy running. This immigration puts a huge strain on the environment and on the social infrastructure as new people are constantly being added and integrated often without time for the community to adjust to their new values, cultures, attitudes and religious views. Added to this the south and West of Sydney deal with almost all of this conflict, often with ethnic groups with a long history of conflict forced to live near one another.
Why so many Australian’s can’t understand Cronulla is that for many of them multiculturalism is an idea that they believe they are living because that have Italian and Greek friends. Multi-culturalism is about throwing people with different views together and hoping that the result comes out right, the human equivalent of a stir fry. It is a tough process and many people get hurt, some get so hurt that they withdraw from it. It can go horribly wrong and groups can become polarized or violent towards one another. Most importantly, it requires a lot of work and resources. Barriers must be overcome and people must make sacrifices or take chances in order to get over those barriers.
The shire is not about taking chances. It is about setting yourself up in a big house and smuggly gloating in your middle-class income and how many plasma t.v.’s it can buy you and how insulated you are from the harsh outside world. It is the worst place to have such a social experiment, a mix of middle-class whites who think they are better than the rest of Sydney and Australia and immigrants who are coming in so fast that they never have time or inclination to adapt to Australian lifestyle, especially when they have to work so much just to support themselves.
“I grew here, you flew here”. Actually most criminal immigrants are second generation, lost between the world of their parents they only experience second hand and the Austrailan culture that they semi-identify with but are never truly accepted into. You grew in the shire, a place isolated from the rest of Sydney both geographically and culturally, a place designed to be more like America and less like Sydney.
The only way to tackle serious issues is to treat them seriously. Taking 5000’s statement and saying it was a race riot is an extreme overreaction – it was a bunch of idiots expressing their frustration not being able to live the Sydney the rest of us do. We need to accept that if we are not going to have kids, someone is going to have to work the jobs. We need to put immigration back into the community and businesses hands rather than the government and start deploying and planning Sydney for long term sustainability rather than digging us out of the mess that feminists have left us in.
Personally, I was ashamed of some of the things that happened in Cronulla, but it wasn’t my most prominent feeling. I felt it was good that immigration had been put back on the agenda, because many suburbs are simply not working. This is a chance for us to define what is to be Australian, and exclude those who behave outside the norms. I was shocked that a life saver was attacked on the beach, and it is definately true that gangs of various forms roam the streets. Longer gaol terms and increased police powers is the absolute wrong response – lets take a moment to take stock of what we have in Australia and start excluding those who are not playing by the rules – Ethnic gangs and Shire idiots alike. And lets try to examine the housing, communities and culture that is being created in the South and the West, and see how we could improve it. Maybe giving those suburbs some kind of identity beyond “we think we are better than everyone else” would be good.