‘In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an Australian and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an Australian, and nothing but an Australian. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an Australian, but something else also, isn’t an Australian at all. We have room for but one flag, the Australian flag. We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the Australian people.’ – Edward Barton, 1907
Below is my response to this quote that was posted on Facebook by a friend along with an image of the Australian flag with an essence of some sort of patriot righteousness. No. This statement is extraordinarily racist and should be identified as that straight up. Australians enjoy over seven and a half kilometers squared of land… It may be a stretch but I think we might have enough room for an Indigenous flag or two.
But what does ‘Australian’ even mean? If you’re talking about the adapted British/American culture the settlers brought with them 300 short years ago, you perhaps shouldn’t adapt the ‘be western or die’ philosophy. Australia is a multicultural country and we should not discriminate against immigrants who are not western because western does not equal Australian. Westerners are immigrants too. This outdated (1907!) statement initially comes across as considerate and honest but is in fact intrinsically racist and reflects the same ideology that allowed the Stolen Generation to happen. It ends here, now, with me.