Migrants May Be Improving. Pity About The Greens.Senator Kerry Nettle is currently swanning around the Middle East on a fact-finding tour.
This is all well and good, but what on earth it has to do with life in Australia as got me beat.
I've been reading her website, though, and there is much mirth-inducing material there.
Take this gem:
...The Greens have done research into English Language proficiency to find out whether government assertions are correct:
The report found that migrants and Muslims getting much better at English*
Research commissioned by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle has found that according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures new migrants and Muslims in particular have been improving their English skills over the term of the Howard government.
"The Prime Minister's rhetoric on English language proficiency in the Muslim community is dead wrong. During his time as Prime Minister English language proficiency for all new migrant groups has improved and Muslims are better English speakers than ever," Senator Nettle said.
The report 'Talking Honestly' has been prepared as a submission to the Department of Immigration Discussion Paper on Citizenship Testing.
"The government's own immigration department has found that all migrant groups have made significant improvements in English language proficiency since 1996.
"The Prime Minister should check his facts before suggesting that we migrants have a problem with English language.
"These findings show that migrants are in fact doing a great job at learning English, which the government should be proud of. Instead the Prime Minister has chosen to slur the Muslim community with the view that there is a problem with Muslims learning English.
"The report shows that there are more Australian Catholics who do not speak English than Muslims, and even as a proportion of their community Muslims are better English speakers that some other religious groups.
"The government's proposed introduction of new strict English testing for migrants and new citizens is not based on the facts about English proficiency but all about a scare campaign particularly aimed at the Muslim community."
One point to ponder that Senator Nettle doesn't address at all is this: If all the indicators are that english proficieny across migrant communities over the years of the Howard government is on the increase, then surely the Howard government must be doing something right.
Also not mentioned are the actual statistics outlining exactly where the prior levels of english usage for migrants (of whatever stripe) lay.
Of course, with respect to Ms Nettle's slur on the Prime Minister about getting his facts correct, and also her snide comment about Mr Howard's alleged digs at muslims who don't learn the language, it's good to see she's still sniping at the catholics.
That wouldn't be a bit of a religious vilification there, now, would it?
Just as well she's not in Brackistan.
And my thoughts on muslims or other migrants who have difficulties with english?
The only reasons they don't speak the language are because they are too old or choose not to.
In the case of Taj el-Din al-Hilali, after 20-odd years in this country, with all the courses and network and supports available for him (and others like him) to learn to speak the language of the country that is apparently in his heart, he has no excuse for his lack of eloquence. By all reports he is a learned, intelligent man, and therefore he has the capacity to learn.
He has chosen not to.
*sorry, this just cracks me up. Someone hasn't heard of a grammar check?