[Student] What does it mean for you to be an Australian?
[Student] For me it’s integrating what I used to be when I was back in my own country and then when I came here sort of mixing the whole lot together so that I still am connected with who I was and also who I am now which is the new structure that I’m used to, there’s no war, there’s a lot of peace, there’s a lot of money to go around, there’s plenty of opportunities and all that so for me it’s really just to play along I guess and to be as upstanding as I could possibly be, not just be any regular Joe but rather be someone who makes a difference and lets his voice be heard and all that. How about you?
[Student] For me it’s just accepting everyone for who they are not judging people because of their race or religion or anything...
[Student] One of the great features of Australia is that we can come together and be a minority in a very big society but also keep that, so we’re not persecuted for being a minority but being part of the majority. In fact it’s great to learn about other cultures and we get all different food which is great and we get those different aspects of life that are great from all around the world and have come to Australia.
[Student] I think a lot of other countries I guess would be jealous of Australia, I guess the kind of cultural harmony we get, even though we would be naive to say that everything is perfect and that everyone gets along well, because that’s not the case, but I think the elements of harmony that we’ve touched on is what makes it so enjoyable and really a valuable experience to live here.
[Student] Do you feel really Australian or would you say...
[Student] Well, I was born here so I’ve been here all my life so I do feel Australian. Some people might say to be Australian you have to always have a barbeque every weekend or drink beer but I know that it’s not exactly that, it’s not as simple as that.
[Student] I don’t think there’s anything that really defines Australian because it’s so multicultural that everyone is Australian, it’s not just like snags on a barbie with the blonde hair and the thongs and the boardshorts. It’s good. But there is a lot of discrimination.
[Student] Yeah, definitely. But I don’t think it’s the majority, I think it’s the minority but they affect a lot of them.
[Student] Yeah they have so much, because they get that power from saying ‘I’m more superior to you,’ and so they get the attention where the minority of people who are accepting they’re like bystanders, they don’t really do anything. But if you think about it, I think Australia needs someone to be racist against. I said this so many times but we’ve always had someone that we’ve discriminated against, like back in the Gold Rush is was the Chinese and then it was the Europeans when they started migrating and then it was the Greeks and Italians and then it was the Lebanese and the Middle Easterns and now it’s the Indians and I don’t know who it’s going to be next but there’s always someone...
[Student] It’s not a good thing or anything but they feel need that they need to be some racism in the country.
[Student] Like whenever someone asks me what nationality I am I always say I’m Lebanese before I’m Australian even though I was born here and raised here I just...
[Student] You don’t want to lose that culture, that identity.
[Student] But even though people are racist against me I’m also racist against other people so I’m a bit of a hypocrite.
[Student] Because I wear the scarf outside people probably know that I’m a Muslim so people go to me ‘How do you do that, don’t you ever feel like if something’s going to happen to you.’ Well, I really don’t care because I know this is who I am, this is my identity so I’m proud of it and I just try to give Muslims a good name and not try to do bad things like the way the Islamic identity is, like presented in the media is something else from what I know so I just try to show the good side of it. But I’ve never been discriminated against, my religion or my race.
[Student] Nothing personally has happed to me, I guess because on the street I don’t look, I don’t wear a head scarf or anything so I just look like everyone else, like the secular world but I still feel it, like as a Jew I hate when other people get discriminated against, like when boys, with the head coverings, and I can see in the media sometimes and it really hurts me and I want to be proud of who I am and be comfortable within Australia and so our community tries to fight for respect and equality between everyone.