I rise to speak about the problems of immigration from Islamic countries. Australia is one of four settler countries. The others are New Zealand, Canada and the United States. Immigrants to Australia have enriched our society, a society now founded on equality between the sexes, separation between religion and government, and the rule of law. We face a new challenge because, over the past 40 years or so, large numbers of settlers have come from Islamic countries, where equality between the sexes is not accepted and where religion and government are commingled. We know that Islamic countries are organised very differently and that people from these countries hold different beliefs on equality between the sexes, homosexuality and the role of religion in society.
This is a historic moment. By bringing this matter into the parliament, my party is throwing open the debate on banning or, at the very least, greatly reducing the migration of such people to Australia. Australia’s points-based immigration system does not give any weight to the person’s ability to adopt our values or integrate into our society. You might think that our immigration system would acknowledge the well-known beliefs of citizens in Islamic countries when assessing suitability for settlement into Australia, but it does not. I say we should. The central issue is whether or not people from Islamic countries can integrate and adopt our values. If they cannot then Australia is not the right place to settle.
Australians are increasingly worried about immigration from Islamic countries. In July and August 2016, Essential conducted a survey and found that one in two Australians supported a ban on Muslim immigration. A significant swathe of those in favour were actually Greens voters. Australians told Essential that people from Islamic countries do not adopt our values, do not integrate and have the potential to become a terrorist threat.
While only a small number of such people are engaged in terrorism, the AFP have some 500 individuals under review at any one time. It is difficult to anticipate who will become radicalised and commit an act of terrorism here. This is true not only of new entrants but also of those born here to parents who were earlier such entrants. There is no doubt that there is a link between terrorism and Islam. The terrorists tell us that. Terrorists tell us they are trained in mosques.
It is regrettable that both major parties and the Greens want to stop the debate about banning or greatly reducing immigration from Islamic countries in the false belief of maintaining cultural harmony. Australians are worried about Islam and Islamisation. They want to talk about it, and they want to talk about it themselves, without being called racist.
It is shocking that the New South Wales Department of Education has known of the problems at Punchbowl Boys High School for years, and yet nothing was done about radicalisation of its students—only now, when shamed into action by the media. Police liaison officers and those tasked with implementing deradicalisation programs should never be excluded from a school on the basis of cultural sensitivity. Equally, female teachers should not be treated differently because they are female, to satisfy some cultural bias.
In Canada, a settler country like Australia, they have settled about a million Muslims. In 2006 they surveyed how things were going, and they repeated the survey in 2016. They found that second-generation Canadian Muslims are more likely than the first generation to identify as a Muslim before identifying as a Canadian. They also found that living in Canada did not have a secularising effect and that people were more strongly drawn to Islam in Canada than in their home country. If the same situation applies in Australia, it goes some way to explaining why so many Muslim Australians are willing to fight in Syria but not willing to join the Australian Defence Force.
We already have problems in Australia caused by immigration from Islamic countries. We need to do something about it now because the Muslim population is growing faster than the rest of Australia because of higher fertility rates. Our current immigration points system ignores the beliefs of those coming from Islamic countries and in doing so places large numbers of people at odds with our legal system and our values.
I commend to government the research of the Pew Research Center, which conducted 80,000 face-to-face interviews with people in 39 Islamic countries. Many of these countries have been the source countries for a large number of settlers into Australia. The shocking results of that research would make any thinking person pause. I will mention just one finding. Ninety-one per cent of those surveyed in Iraq said they supported sharia law. We have settled 42,862 Iraqis into Australia.
The coalition and Labor governments have crossed their fingers and hoped the massive immigration program from Islamic countries would work out. Yet they have not conducted any substantive studies to see whether it is doing so. It is time they did. We do not know whether people from Islamic countries keep their beliefs and values from their home country when they settle in Australia, because successive Australian governments have not done the research. It is time that the ABS or another trustworthy research organisation did that job and gathered useful information in respect of settlers from Islamic countries.
The Islamisation of some Australian suburbs suggests that settlers from Islamic countries are forming increasingly closed communities that live according to their own rules. It sows the seeds of conflict between communities. There is no place for this in Australia.
We need to ban or greatly reduce immigration from Islamic countries until we have the debate about Islam that Australians are demanding, until we better understand the problems we now have and until we know how to fix the problems. Meanwhile, we are the only party that says things that need to be said and will do the things that need to be done.
Senator Hanson speech is available on our blog