- Howard repeats multiculturalism scepticism
- Says he has never been convinced by it
- Appearing at conservative ARC event
- READ MORE: Multiculturalism ‘doubts’
Former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard has again voiced scepticism about multiculturalism saying he always ‘had trouble’ with the concept.
The 84-year-old, who was prime minister from 1996 to 2007, made the comments at a London conference for political conservatives after previously stating ‘he had doubts about multiculturalism’ to the right-wing GB News channel.
Speaking at an Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC) forum, Mr Howard said multiculturalism ‘instituted difference’ and risked separating people along racial or ethnic background lines.
‘Multiculturalism is a concept that I’ve always had trouble with. I take the view that if people want to emigrate to a country, then they adopt the values and practices of that country,’ Mr Howard said.
‘And in return they’re entitled to have the host citizenry respect their culture without trying to create some kind of federation of tribes and culture – you get into terrible trouble with that.’
Former Coalition Prime Minister John Howard has continued to express his doubts about multiculturalism
Mr Howard said when he spoke to people at local events ‘particularly in the bush’ he was often told ‘we came to this wonderful country because you were free, you were kind, you were generous’.
‘And – isn’t that terrific?’ he reflected.
‘Do you really have to redefine that relationship?’
‘I think one of the problems with multiculturalism is we try too hard to institutionalise differences, rather than celebrate what we have in [common].’
Mr Howard added to his comments while speaking to GB News.
‘We don’t want separation based on race or background. We want a natural acceptance,’ he said.
‘And this is a problem that the Americans are facing.
‘I remember reading a book… and it said that for years after the Civil War the philosophy of a ‘melting pot’ was adhered to.
‘But in more recent times, they started talking a lot more about the different tribes.
‘And that was a mistake in America and that was a mistake here.’
Mr Howard said that multiculturalism emphasises difference rather than what people have in common
On Tuesday Mr Howard was asked by GB News host Camilla Tominey if he agreed with the UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s assertion that multiculturalism has ‘failed’ in the Western world.
‘I have my doubts about multiculturalism,’ Mr Howard said.
‘I believe that when you migrate to another country you should, as far as reasonably, be expected to absorb the mainstream culture of that country.’
Mr Howard then reflected on how Australia had been ‘very successful’ when it came to immigration.
‘It (immigration to Australia) largely works well, I think, because people are attracted to the foundation (and) mainstream culture of Australia, which is open and tolerant, but also proud of what our country has achieved,’ he said.
‘I think if we put more emphasis on what our nation has achieved, in what the Western world has achieved, and less apologetic, and less inclined to say, ‘We’re all to blame’, the better we would be.’
Mr Howard issued a warning about splitting people into different tribes, along racial and ethnic lines
Tominey brought up the topic of multiculturalism after speaking about the pro-Palestine demonstrations in the UK and Australia.
She asked Mr Howard about the protest outside the Opera House in Sydney earlier this month, where some attendees chanted ‘gas the Jews’ and other anti-Semitic slurs.
Mr Howard slammed the demonstration as ‘shameful’.