Long may we change

Scott Morrison’s view (“Advance the bold idea of diversity”, 25/1) that “cultural tolerance is not a license for cultural practices that are offensive to the cultural values…of Australia” overlooks the fact that our fiercely defended “freedom to offend” cuts both ways.

He further states “respect for diversity does not provide license for closed communities”, forgetting that freedom of association is an important plank of our democracy. Accordingly, there are already many non-migrant closed communities in this country, many of them Christian. Does he propose to outlaw them all, or only migrant groups?

Morrison’s view of immigration as on condition that “people have come to join us, not change us” jars with history. Immigration has already transformed Australia from the dull, smug, parochial monoculture I recall from my childhood, to the vivacious global citizen it is now. This was not achieved by social engineering, by telling people they must live according to some imposed template of Australian-ness. People came with their new ways, the old and new blended and adapted to each other or not as they chose, and our contemporary multi-culture was formed naturally. Long may we change.

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