There has been an great deal said about immigration in Australia in the last few years. The issue has cost two of our National Opposition leaders dearly; and remains a divisive and ongoing topic for all of us in this country, as we try to come to grips with both our legitimate and our irrational concerns. Most of the debate, however, seems to stem from our evaluation of 'their' impact on 'us'. I have long wanted to write a song from the other point of view.
One thing that this man's story slammed home to me was this; that it is often our immigrants that appreciate this country, and the things it's supposed to stand for, most of all. Listening to him speak, it was almost as if I was seeing my own country for the first time through his eyes. Given the fact that Australia is almost entirely an immigrant nation, it is somewhat strange that our literary tradition, through people like Henry Lawson, has been so racist. I'm glad that recent Australian writers have begun to address this problem; because it may only be through a more sympathetic attitude to our contemporary immigrants that we may begin to understand, and forgive, our own history.