Italians show benefits of immigration, says Gillard

I myself have the highest opinion of Italians and heartily agree with what my Prime Minister has said about them below. As well I might do: Italians are the heirs to TWO great flowerings of civilization: The Roman empire and the Renaissance. And to this day Italy is a powerhouse of culture. So it is NO surprise that Italian immigrants have made a great contribution to Australian life.

But when we look at illiterate Afghans and their primitive 7th century religion, we are at the opposite end of the scale. And it is mainly Afghans who are flocking to Australia as illegal immigrants at the moment. They are a disaster waiting to happen. They should be sent back to their native hellhole

There are undoubtedly many worthy Afghans but those who try to force themselves on Australia are ipso facto unlikely to include many of those

JULIA Gillard says the integration of Italian migrants in Australia shows the strength and the benefits of immigration to the nation.

The prime minister acknowledged the contribution Italian migrants have made to Australia at a dinner marking the 150th anniversary of Italy's unification.

Ms Gillard said thousands of Italians have made the "momentous decision" to sacrifice their home to journey across the globe and realise their hopes in Australia.

"But if Australia was a land of opportunity, it only came at a price," Ms Gillard said at the Italian National Day Ball in Sydney today. "Years of backbreaking labour in places like the Snowy or the cane fields, working two or three jobs, sometimes facing misunderstanding and discrimination. "But in spite of these difficulties, you held fast and saw Australia as it could be."

She said Australia changed for the better as the nation absorbed these migrants. "That is why we must always regard immigration as a source of strength," Ms Gillard said. "Because it renewed and enriched our nation at its core, precisely at the time when the world was opening up and our old insular habits could no longer be sustained.

Ms Gillard said the unification of the city-states into the nation of Italy in 1861 led the way for the prosperous, innovative European country of today.

"Friends, Italy has given many great gifts to the world: her culture, her food, her sense of style - but the greatest gift of Italy has been her people," she said.

"Around 60 million people outside Italy claim Italian heritage. "And for this gift, Australia will always give thanks."


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