John Howard: Australia's "strong horse"
One foreign leader who makes me stand up and cheer is John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia. In the last year, Howard has gained increased prominence for his willingness to stand up for a truth too few other leaders in the democratic West are willing to speak:
The truth is that people come to this country because they want to be Australians. The irony is that no institution or code lays down a test of Australianness. Such is the nature of our free society.
It would however be a crushing mistake to downplay the hopes and the expectations of our national family. We expect all who come here to make an overriding commitment to Australia, its laws and its democratic values. We expect them to master the common language of English and we will help them to do so.
FIVE of the nation's most powerful Islamic clerics, including Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilali, have been banned from talking to the media by Muslim leaders for delivering "anti-Australian" messages.
LMA president Tom Zreika yesterday told The Australian the letter was issued to end the "perceived un-Australian viewpoints given by some clerics"."One of the big issues is the double-speak by the various imams," Mr Zreika said.
He added that the messages some clerics delivered in Arabic contradicted comments given in English while talking to the mainstream media."They go on to the Voice of Islam and talk about something which really isn't in accordance with our views as Australians."(While) most of our clerics are selected on the basis that they have Australian values and Australian characteristics ... some of them haven't (lived) up to that."