Every migrant community has faced difficulty at various stages in its integration and these difficulties are less related to their ancestry than to the particular factors affecting their community – often related to government policy and community attitudes. The earliest migrants were convicts, transported often for petty crimes due to the terrible poverty that afflicted England. Despite many problems in this largely Irish community, who faced discrimination at all levels, the Irish community have provided great leadership and capacity to this country. The same can be said for the Afghans, the Chinese working in the goldfields, the Germans in South Australia, Vietnamese boat people and many other communities including the Lebanese, who each had unique factors – often to do with events that were happening overseas - that affected how they were treated by government and by the community.
The most successful integration occurred between the Macassans and the Aboriginies in Northern Australia centuries before the arrival of Europeans. They are an example of compassionate understanding and respect. Our leaders would do well to look back in time to such examples of success, not to our current post-Brexit, post-Trump and hard Right tendencies.