It never ceases to amaze me that people want to deny the right of others to come to this country and call Australia home. It has become easy for people to simplistically close the front door to others under the guise of concern over jobs, housing or education.
Aren’t we all immigrants, after all? And don’t those of us who are first, second or third generation Australians maintain a little nationalistic pride in our family’s country of origin, anyway? Provided that people are prepared to abide by our laws, I find it unpatriotic and quite incomprehensible that some would seek to exclude others from having the fair go in life that we enjoy in this ‘lucky country’ (a country which is, in so many ways, blessed by God).
Of course, a clear and fair process must ensure that access to this nation is regulated, but why would anyone not want to try and come here? For all the gripes that we can easily have about what we maybe don’t have, our clean air, spacious living, robust economy, free choices, affordable health care and high employment all contribute to ensuring that even the most financially challenged of us can enjoy a quality of living that is unrivalled just about anywhere on the planet. Our cities consistently rank highly in international surveys of the most liveable cities on Earth.
That makes me entirely grateful to God. And it is in a spirit of gratitude that I believe we should share the nation’s good fortune with all those who would seek to prosper us further. I also thank God for the opportunity to share the gift of eternal life, freely available to all, with those who may well influence its acceptance by family and friends in other nations.
My only qualification in all of this, however, is that we acknowledge these rights and freedoms that we share are given to us by a holy God who is to be respected and honoured. To diminish the very Christian influence that has made this country great seems utterly illogical when many people have come here to enjoy the life that we have on offer. So whilst people’s coming and contributing can make us greater in so many ways, the Christian traditions that have shaped our contemporary society, which is so attractive to immigrants, can be reasonably and jealously guarded.
This Australia Day gives us another great opportunity to thank God for those many qualities of life that we all too easily take for granted.