The Secular Party supports immigration from all countries, provided migrants and refugees respect Australian values. Notable author and ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali says that all human beings are equal, but all cultures and religions are not, and that Australia is entitled to select immigrant refugees on the basis on their compatibility with Australian values and society. The Secular Party endorses this view.

All migrants to Australia are already required to agree to respect Australian values. This is a condition migrants sign up to as part of their migrant visa application. The Australian Values Statement, which is part of the application form, includes such values as respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual, freedom of religion, commitment to the rule of law, Parliamentary democracy and the equality of men and women.

It is clear, however, that many immigrants who adhere to extreme religious beliefs do not respect these values. As Ayaan Hirsi Ali attests, many Islamic practices systematically abuse human rights. Muslim immigrants who adhere to these practices therefore violate the very values they have agreed to respect.

The Secular Party endorses the distinction, made by Hirsi Ali, between spiritual Islam and political Islam. Islamic practices which implement Sharia law are political. It should be made clear to Muslims that the rule of law means Australian law, not Islamic law. In Islamic law it is forbidden to leave Islam. This is a violation of freedom of religion. In Islamic law women are not equal to men. The practice of this Islamic doctrine violates respect for equality between men and women. It is clear from many Islamic practices observed in Australia, that the equality of men and women is not respected.

The Secular Party believes that it should be made clear to all immigrants and refugees who wish to settle in Australia, that Australia expects and requires that the undertakings made by migrants in their signed application forms be respected. A grant of permanent residence in Australia should be conditional on adherence to respect for Australian values.

The Secular Party believes that blind adherence to extreme religious doctrine is divisive, undesirable and potentially harmful. Future peace, harmony and social cohesion can only be achieved through respect for universal values, based on the principles of compassion, honesty, freedom and justice.

Jul 28, 2010