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Friday, August 25, 2006

Lateline - 23/08/2005: Respect Australian values or leave: Costello

This interview with Australia's Treasurer has been circulating around the net. At the risk of being burned at the stake by the PC crowd, I will say he makes a lot of sense to me. America, too, was founded as a secular democratic republic. Anyone who wants to live here and ignore that fact needs to realign their thinking to accept it. That includes homegrown theocratic wannabes like Katherine Harris and her kind. --pseudolus
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Reporter: Tony Jones

..<..snip

TONY JONES: Now, over the past 24 hours you've been repeating the notion that migrants, evidently Islamic migrants, who don't like Australia, or Australian values, should think of packing up and moving to another country. Is that a fair assessment?

PETER COSTELLO: What I've said is that this is a country, which is founded on a democracy. According to our Constitution, we have a secular state. Our laws are made by the Australian Parliament. If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you. This is not the kind of country where you would feel comfortable if you were opposed to democracy, parliamentary law, independent courts and so I would say to people who don't feel comfortable with those values there might be other countries where they'd feel more comfortable with their own values or beliefs.

Continued...to "Read More" click link below

CONTINUED:

TONY JONES: It sounds like you're inviting Muslims who don't want to integrate to go to another country. Is it as simple as that?

PETER COSTELLO: No. I'm saying if you are thinking of coming to Australia, you ought to know what Australian values are.

TONY JONES: But what about if you're already here and you don't want to integrate?

PETER COSTELLO: Well, I'll come to that in a moment. But there are some clerics who have been quoted as saying they recognise two laws. They recognise Australian law and Sharia law. There's only one law in Australia, it's the Australian law. For those coming to Australia, I think we ought to be very clear about that. We expect them to recognise only one law and to observe it.

Now, for those who are born in Australia, I'd make the same point. This is a country which has a Constitution. Under its Constitution, the state is secular. Under its constitution, the law is made by the parliament. Under its Constitution, it's enforced by the judiciary. These are Australian values and they're not going to change and we would expect people, when they come to Australia or if they are born in Australia, to respect those values.

TONY JONES: I take it that if you're a dual citizen and you have the opportunity to leave and you don't like Australian values, you're encouraging them to go away; is that right?

PETER COSTELLO: Well, if you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country which practises it, perhaps then that's a better option.

TONY JONES: But isn't this the sort of thing you hear in pubs, the meaningless populism you hear on talkback radio? Essentially, the argument is if you don't like it here, you should go back home.

PETER COSTELLO: No. Essentially, the argument is Australia expects its citizens to abide by core beliefs - democracy, the rule of law, the independent judiciary, independent liberty. You see, Tony, when you come to Australia and you go to take out Australian citizenship you either swear on oath or make an affirmation that you respect Australia's democracy and its values. That's what we ask of people that come to Australia and if they don't, then it's very clear that this is not the country - if they can't live with them - whose values they can't share. Well, there might be another country where their values can be shared.

TONY JONES: Who exactly are you aiming this at? Are you aiming it at young Muslims who don't want to integrate or are you aiming it at clerics like Sheikh Omran or Abu Bakr both from Melbourne?

PETER COSTELLO: I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that that is false. It's not the situation in Australia. It's not the situation under our Constitution. There's only one law in Australia. It's the law that's made by the Parliament of Australia and enforced by our courts. There's no second law. There's only one law that applies in Australia and Australia expects its citizens to observe it.

TONY JONES: But you're not moving to the next stage, as they have in Britain, of actively seeking out clerics who teach what they regard as dangerous philosophy to young Muslims and forcing them to leave the country?

PETER COSTELLO: The only thing I would say - and let me say it again - is we can't be ambivalent about this point. Australia has one law, Australia has a secular state and anybody who teaches to the contrary doesn't know Australia and anybody who can't accept that, can't accept something that is fundamental to the nature of our society.

TONY JONES: All right. But the situation now, as far as you're concerned, if they are to leave, it should be completely voluntary.

PETER COSTELLO: Well, I'm just saying if they object to a secular state with parliamentary law, there might be other countries where the system of law is more acceptable to them.

TONY JONES: Alright. Could that situation change? I mean, the voluntary nature of it at least, could you compel people to leave, including radical preachers, if there were a terrorist attack in Australia, as there was in London not so long ago?

PETER COSTELLO: Well, where a person has dual citizenship, Tony, it might be possible to ask them to exercise that other citizenship where they could just as easily exercise a citizenship of another country. That might be a live possibility.

TONY JONES: You mean to force them to leave?

PETER COSTELLO: Well, you could ask them to exercise another citizenship.

TONY JONES: But you would only do that if there were a terrorist attack in the aftermath of it. You wouldn't do it, for example, if there were a thwarted terrorist attack as ASIO has told us there has been in this country?

PETER COSTELLO: Well, I am not going into individual circumstances. I just make the point that where people have dual citizenship and they're not comfortable with the way Australia is structured, it may be possible to ask them to exercise their other citizenship.

TONY JONES: Forcibly?

PETER COSTELLO: Well, as I said, it may be possible to ask them to exercise their other citizenship.
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read the rest at link below
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SOURCE:
Lateline - 23/08/2005: Respect Australian values or leave: Costello

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