Wednesday, October 18, 2017

RESPONSE: POLITICAL CORRECTNESS HITS RAW NERVE

sadviser April 2, 2013

Dear Editor,
Mrs Ciavarella, in one of your many rants on a local facebook site (a haven for keyboard cowards) you conveniently justify your opinions on multiculturalism by saying that you are polite and friendly to ‘these people’ when they come into your shop. Nothing to do with making a sale? I can only assume that ‘these people’ are new arrivals who have come to Australia legally on Humanitarian Visas to escape the tyranny and persecution happening in their own countries.
In a recent letter by you (Political Correctness Hits Raw Nerve) to The Adviser, you question the validity and worth of activities associated with multiculturalism.
For the past four years I have worked at the Shepparton English Language Centre (SELC) as the Student Welfare Officer. SELC is a government school that caters for the academic, social and emotional needs of recently arrived refugees. The students whose ages range from 6 to 18 are mainly from Afghanistan, with others from Iraq and The Congo. After spending six months at SELC the senior students move onto their respective secondary schools.
After having spent more than 40 years in ‘mainstream’ education, I can only describe my current position as one of privilege. The students, and their families, display the utmost respect, honesty and friendliness and have an insatiable desire to improve themselves in all areas. Many of these students have experienced unimaginable hardship and sadness, including the loss of family members or worse, their entire family.
Mrs Ciavarella, recently I again had the privilege of being the master of ceremonies at the Harmony Day Celebrations held at Kidstown. Let me assure you, this is a most memorable experience based on the real principles of harmony that include community participation, inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone. Aren’t these the foundations of a successful community?
Later in the day I attended Harmony Day Celebrations at McGuire College. Congratulations to the principal, Mrs Gregory, staff and students for such a rewarding and thought provoking presentation. In Mrs Gregory’s address at the assembly she emphasised two key words, ‘respect’ and ‘tolerance’. We can only live in hope!
To you and others, Mrs Ciavarella, who are critical of such events and the expenditure, I request that you consider the following:
Multiculturalism is an integral part of the Australian culture and will continue to be. The vast majority of new arrivals want to integrate, be successful and be valuable contributors. Consider the wonderful contributions made by the Italian, Greek, Albanian, Turkish, Indian, Filipino and other cultures. Concerns regarding the cost to ratepayers for the harmony Day Celebrations are unfounded as thirteen other organisations are contributing either financially or with volunteer support. Perhaps, if some of these ill-informed critics of multiculturalism attended these events, they may become more positive in their thinking and offer amore balanced opinion.
For the record Mrs Ciavarella, I am not a tree hugging, bleeding heart, do gooder.
Yours sincerely,
Leo Houlihan
Shepparton

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