- Howard reiterates the skepticism about multiculturalism
- Says he was never convinced
- Appearance at a conservative ARC event
- READ MORE: “Doubts” about multiculturalism
Former Liberal prime minister John Howard has reiterated his skepticism about multiculturalism, saying he has always had “problems” with the concept.
The 84-year-old, who was prime minister from 1996 to 2007, made the comments at a London conference of political conservatives after previously telling right-wing broadcaster GB News that “he has doubts about multiculturalism.”
Speaking at an Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC) forum, Mr Howard said multiculturalism “introduces differences” and risks separating people by racial or ethnic background.
“Multiculturalism is a concept that I have always had problems with.” “I believe that when people want to emigrate to a country, they adopt the values and practices of that country,” Mr. Howard said.
“And in return they have a right to have the citizens of the host country respect their culture without trying to create some kind of federation of tribes and cultures – that gets you into terrible trouble.”
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, kind and generous.”
“And – isn’t that great?” he pondered.
“Do you really need to redefine this relationship?”
“I think one of the problems with multiculturalism is that we try too hard to institutionalize differences instead of celebrating what we have.” [common].’
Mr Howard added to his comments when speaking to GB News.
“We don’t want separation based on race or origin.” “We want natural acceptance,” he said.
“And that’s a problem that Americans are facing.”
“I remember reading a book… and it said that the ‘melting pot’ philosophy was maintained for years after the Civil War.”
“But recently people 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 multiculturalism emphasized people’s differences rather than their similarities
On Tuesday, Mr Howard was asked by GB News presenter Camilla Tominey whether he agreed with British Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s claim that multiculturalism has “failed” in the Western world.
“I have my doubts about multiculturalism,” Mr. Howard said.
“I believe that when you emigrate to another country, you should be expected, as far as is reasonable, to absorb the mainstream culture of that country.”
“Sure, keep your affection for Greece or Italy or wherever you come from.”
Mr Howard then reflected on how “very successful” Australia has been when it comes to immigration.
He recalled meeting people who had immigrated from European countries in the past and, more recently, from countries such as China and India.
“It (immigration to Australia) works well, in my opinion, largely because people are attracted to the basic (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 placed more emphasis on what our nation has achieved, on what the Western world has achieved, and were less apologetic and less inclined to say, ‘We’re all to blame,’ the better it would be for us.”
Mr. Howard warned against the division of people into different tribes along racial and ethnic lines
Tominey raised the issue of multiculturalism after speaking about the pro-Palestine demonstrations in Britain and Australia.
She asked Mr Howard about the protest outside the Sydney Opera House earlier this month, in which some participants shouted “gas Jews” and other anti-Semitic slurs.
Mr Howard described the demonstration as “shameful”.