From the "silly" files...Kim Beazley has copped a lot of flack from all sides for his proposal that everyone who visits Australia would have to agree on their visa application to respect Australian values whilst they are here. Merely obeying Australian laws is not enough. Tourists would also need to agree to show respect for women, tolerance and mateship.
Now, I do believe that those who wish to settle permanently in Australia need to make an effort to integrate and respect our way of life. But how does making visitors agree to this help us any? How would it work anyway? Nearly five million foreign visitors come to Australia each year. Who is going to monitor whether they're respecting Australian values? Imagine a situation where the "values police" board a tour bus and pull a guy off, saying to him, "Whilst in Australia, you've been keeping to yourself and not making friends with the rest of the tour group. You're not displaying 'mateship', as you agreed to do on your tourist visa application. Therefore, we're going to have to deport you."
And Australia would become an international laughing stock.
I have written previously about the difficulty of defining Australian values. The Chaser has solved the problem, with a proposed Australian values statement:
I promise during my visit to Australia that I will:
1) Respect other cultures if completely assimilated into Australia's own
2) Respect for other religions as long as they're not fundamentalist (except Christianity)
3) Respect for Australian institutions such as Don Bradman, Phar Lap, Steve Irwin and Peter Brock
4) Respect Australia's democracy unless I have a Senate majority
5) Respect the equal treatment of women, except when depicted in Ralph, FHM and ZOO. I note note that 'equal' does not extend to pay, hiring policies, seats in parliament or adequate childcare facilities.
6) Respect hard work, especially when directed towards avoiding tax
7) Respect Australia's Laws, and also its Jones and Mitchell
8) Respect Australia's armed forces no matter where America may deploy them
9) Respect Australia's parliaments, except the 'fun-sized' NT and ACT parliaments which no-one respects
10) Above all respect Australians' most important value – the value of their mortgage repayments
On a serious note though, if Beazley wants to regain "middle Australia", he's not going to do it on issues of national security (my polite way of saying, pandering to people's fears). The Democrats trying to be the Republicans didn't work in the USA, and Labor trying to be the Liberals hasn't, and isn't going to, work here. Labor needs to concentrate on where it can gain ground; the issues that affect peoples day-to-day lives, like the IR laws. We're just over a year away from the federal election, and I don't want my afro-wig run to be on hold for another four years...