SYDNEY — Although some Australians have tried to suggest otherwise, Asian immigrants do not contribute to the disintegration of Australian "values," says the country's top immigration official.
New Zealanders are more likely to end up in Australian prisons and hospitals than are Asian immigrants because the New Zealanders aren't subject to the same rigid health and character checks as migrants from other nations, says Philip Ruddock, Australia's minister for immigration and multicultural affairs.
Fears about Asian immigration are perpetuated through misinformation and myth and through false claims such as those made by Member of Parliament Pauline Hanson last September.
Statistics show that there are more New Zealanders than Asians, pro rata, in Australian jails. Similarly, health checks placed on Asian immigrants mean they are generally healthier and less of a burden on the health-care system than native-born Australians.
Despite Ms. Hanson's claim that "a truly multicultural country can never be strong or united," these statistics suggest culture and nationality are less relevant to the question of an immigrant's ability to integrate into Australian society than are individual characteristics.
"Immigrants are committed to Australia. They don't undermine [or] challenge Australian values ... they've come here to benefit from them," Ruddock says.