Australia's Future

Steven Mosher
By Joseph A. D'Agostino
PRI Weekly Briefing
10 March 2006
Vol. 8 / No. 10
Reproduced with Permission

Australia recently took two important steps that may greatly influence her long-term future. One was the vote of her parliament last month to legalize RU-486, the human pesticide. The other is the stepped-up campaign by Prime Minister John Howard's government against multiculturalism.

During an event meant to highlight opposition to RU-486, pro-life Danna Vale, a Member of Parliament and of Howard's Liberal Party, spoke of the growing threat to Australia posed by abortion and Muslims. "I've actually read in the Daily Telegraph, where a certain imam from the Lakemba mosque actually said that Australia's going to be a Muslim nation in 50 years' time," she said. "I didn't believe him at the time, but you know, when you actually look at the birthrates and you look at the fact that we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence by 100,000 abortions every year, and that's on a guesstimate, you multiply that by 50 years. That's five million potential Australians we won't have here."

Vale's comment generated the usual politically correct denunciations, and she herself later admitted that she had been "clumsy." "I was not speaking racially, despite the criticisms I have received from those sections of the media that act more like a fifth column rather than our fourth estate," she wrote in an op-ed for The Age, February 25. "I was speaking demographically, even if, as I have already acknowledged, in a regrettably clumsy way. The focus of my concern was the disturbing fact that there are an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 abortions in Australia each year, a fact that does worry a majority of thinking Australians. A survey conducted by the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute found that 64% of Australians think the abortion rate is too high and 87% think it should be reduced."

Vale said that she was not criticizing Muslims' relatively high fertility rates. "Muslim Australians value their children," she wrote. "It is non-Muslim Australians who are not having enough children, a point well made by the Herald last week, which cited figures that exposed a fertility fault-line in Sydney from Cronulla to Castle Hill. The area west of that fault-line, south-western Sydney, has fertility rates more than double those in other areas. Last year around budget time, Treasurer Peter Costello encouraged Australian mothers to 'have one for yourself, one for your husband and one for Australia.' Sound advice."

Vale practices what she preaches. "Danna's first two babies were born after very difficult pregnancies and when she became pregnant with her fourth child in the early 1970s, her third baby was only four months old," says Gail Instance, Director of Family Life International-Australia. "Her obstetrician advised an abortion, which she refused. She told us that her decision then has been reaffirmed every day as she looks into the eyes of her youngest son."

It seems that the imam's prediction is actually unlikely for Australia, whose immigrants - unlike those into many European nations - are mostly non-Muslim. And though the Muslim birthrate in Australia is at least 2.7 children per woman, far higher than the country average of 1.7, Muslims make up only 1.5% to 3% of the population. Most of Australia's immigrants currently come from China and other non-Muslim nations. Yet if immigration patterns change, the imam could turn out to be right. And certainly, barring major policy changes, Australia's Muslim population is going to become much larger and much more influential over the next few decades.

Why might immigration patterns change, making a Muslim Australia a real possibility? Because non-Muslim Third World populations, especially in China and other such Asian nations, now have low birthrates. Muslim countries have relatively high ones. Replacement rate is 2.1. Take two large, poor Muslim nations in Australia's region: Malaysia, 2.6; and Indonesia, 2.2. These aren't high birthrates, but at least they are above replacement - and thus these countries could become major sources of immigrants for Australia, whose native-born people have so few kids that immigration is necessary to keep the economy going.

Regardless of how Islamic Australia becomes, high rates of immigration, low birthrates among the the native population, and the anti-assimilation multiculturalist ethos are changing the country's character. Those who value Australia's Western, English, ordered, and Christian-influenced culture should be concerned. Unfortunately, Australians aren't concerned enough to produce their future generations. Howard and many other members of the Australian government want to reduce abortion and rescue marriage, and yet couldn't prevent parliament from legalizing dangerous RU-486, which is ten times more likely to kill the aborting mother than surgical abortion. That's a sign of hard-set pro-abortion feeling controlling the people's representatives, and at a time when Australia needs many more children.

That's why Howard and pro-life Health Minister Tony Abbott announced March 6 a plan to provide $51 million over four years for abortion alternatives counseling, including a 24-hour helpline. "The government does not support changing the abortion law nor does it support restricting Medicare funding for abortion," they said in a joint press release. "Nevertheless, the government wants to give more support to women who are or have been uncertain about continuing a pregnancy." Counseling will be given by those with no financial connection to abortion, and women can request to get more information from organizations of their choice.

"Our birthrate is below replacement and common sense tells us that we are committing national suicide," says Instance. "Bob Santamaria said years ago that we had better make up our minds who we want to give this country to since we don't seem to want it."

"While I respect Muslim support for pro-family and pro-marriage policies, especially at the UN, the negative side is that they also agree with polygamy, even in relatively moderate countries such as Malaysia and the Gulf Emirates," says Babette Francis, head of the anti-feminist Endeavour Forum. "There is no doubt that the disciplined orthodoxy of Islam, prayers five times a day, clear strictures in regard to behavior, etc., are appealing to those who feel adrift in mainline Protestant churches, and to those who are 'unchurched.'" Francis considers Islam to be a potentially serious threat. "The crucial problem is that we cannot rely on the division of Muslims into moderate good ones and terrorists," she says. "There are devastating flaws in the religion of Islam itself and it will always be prone to terrorism and similar evils in a way that Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism are not."

Howard and Costello have announced that multiculturalism has got to go. Howard said that immigrants who do not "fit in" should not come to Australia, and Costello wants testing on cultural values before immigrants are allowed to stay in the country. In the meantime, radical Muslims in Australia are calling for jihad against their adopted nation's own troops. Reported The Australian today, "'The Australian Government is part of a coalition that is inflicting untold horrors upon the Muslim world whether in Iraq or Afghanistan,' the radical group's spokesman, Wassim Doureihi, told The Australian yesterday. 'There are bombs being dropped and there are children being killed and there are entire cities being uprooted.'" His group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, has praised suicide bombers and the like.

The simple fact is, any country with a sizeable Muslim population these days is likely to have problems with terrorists, murderers, and insurrectionists, not to mention polygamists and anti-Semites. No amount of politically correct platitudination can change that.

An increasing proportion of children being born worldwide are Muslim. So what does that mean for the future? Australia has decided to legalize the abortion pill while Muslims are against abortion. What does that indicate about the future character of the Australian nation?