Andrew Bolt’s ‘tidal wave of immigrants’ article prompts press council complaint | Media
The Australian Press Council has received an unspecified number of complaints about an article by Andrew Bolt that argues a “tidal wave” of migrants are swamping Australia, forming enclaves and “changing our culture”.
In a highly-inflammatory column headlined “The foreign invasion”, Bolt says migrant communities are not assimilating and failing to always speak English. “Immigration is becoming colonisation, turning this country from a home into a hotel,” he wrote in a column widely syndicated in the News Corp tabloids on Thursday.
“There is no ‘us’ any more, as a tidal wave of immigrants sweeps away what’s left of our national identity. Another 240,000 foreigners joined us last year alone, not just crowding our cities but changing our culture.”
The president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Jennifer Huppert, said articles such as Bolt’s do nothing for the cohesion of Australian society.
“There is a rise in ultra-rightwing activity in Victoria and this type of activity can fuel antisemitic, anti-Islamic and general racist debate and language in our community.” Huppert told Guardian Australia. “Articles like this definitely don’t help cohesion in society.”
The press council confirmed there had been at least one complaint but is not at liberty to divulge how many or the nature of the complaints.
Bolt singles out groups such as Chinese, Cambodian, Indian and Jewish and quotes what percentage of the community where they live that they represent.
“In Melbourne’s North Caulfield, 41 per cent of residents are Jews, including hundreds who have lately fled South Africa,” he said. “Dandenong now has an official Little Indian Cultural Precinct, with 33 Indian businesses.”
Huppert says listing the percentage of the community that is Jewish is meaningless.
“It tells us nothing about social cohesion. It doesn’t inform the debate in any meaningful way, it’s purely looking at census figures,” she said.
“It doesn’t say whether they are integrated into the broader community.
“You’d be very hard-pressed to say Jews hadn’t integrated into the wider community and I think you can extrapolate that to other migrant groups as well.
“In all groups there are smaller elements who like to live an isolated life but they are in the minority. There are Jews living everywhere in the country who are engaging in the broader community and who are in leadership roles in every sector of our community.”
Bolt breached the Racial Discrimination Act over two articles he wrote in 2009. He was sued by nine people in the federal court who said he implied light-skinned people who identified as Aboriginal did so for personal gain.
Sharad Gupta, the president of the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria, questioned why Bolt believed it was a bad thing that there were clusters of Indian businesses, such as the Little India precinct in south-east Melbourne.
“[Indians] settle, they start businesses and are helping the economy and generating employment,” he said.
“I’ve been in Australia for the last 22 years, and I can see multiculturalism has grown up. [That] kind of segregation is not there. People have accepted migrants here.”
Susan Gin, the president of the Chinese Association of Victoria, said Bolt’s column was akin to a “good rant, similar to what some of us might in indulge in after frustrating day at work” but his view was in the minority.
“One does not need to stoke fear about Box Hill, for example, that it is predominantly Chinese people and Chinese signs,” Gin said.
Gin pointed to Victoria’s Italian community, which had “huddled” initially around Lygon street, in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton, but was now spread across the city.
“There is a deep desire and willingness [among migrants] to become Australians, to adopt Australian values, to adopt Australian customs and culture. That takes time and it requires patience from both sides.”