Have you ever wondered about the composition of Australian society in comparison to that of other countries?
Do you think we are one of the most multicultural societies on earth?
Have you felt unduly swayed by newspaper reports, and wanted to understand immigration more deeply?
Do you fear a "Muslim invasion"? Or perhaps an Asian invasion, or some other variation?
If so, this book may be for you. A rational, detailed and often dry 220 pages of analysis from an expert in the field, it will leave you with more information and (hopefully) fewer prejudices. Thanks to the White Australia policy, that existed until the 1970s, Australia became one of the most British societies outside the UK. This continues even to the present day, with 3/4 of the population speaking only English and describing themselves as Christian. James Jupp provides analysis of White Australia, the movement to multiculturalism, the policies of various governments, the need for immigration, and much more.
Amongst the most helpful aspects of this book are the author's definitions of racism and xenophobia. James Jupp writes "By 'racist', I mean a fairly complex position which argues that clearly identifiable races not only exist but are hierarchically graded." Racism is an ideology that views all members of a race as superior or inferior to members of another race. "By 'xenophobic', I mean a simpler psychological reaction to people who originate in a different homeland and who are believed to be physically or culturally different." Jupp argues that this is an almost universal reaction, but must be controlled in a civilised society. Xenophobia can include fear of another religion or language.
This is a secular book, but it has aroused all kinds of religious questions in me. What does responsible dominion, as taught in the Creation Mandate, mean for a country's immigration policy? What is a loving response to refugees? Should Christians advocate that all people "fit into" society and adopt Australian values? Should we support the evaluation of people primarily on the basis of their potential economic contribution to society? How can we, who know that fear and worry are expressions of lack of trust in God, fear Muslim people coming to Australia? Should we not rather view their prescence as an opportunity? I don't have the answers to these and many other questions. However, they need to be asked if Christians are to develop a loving and biblically based response to immigration.