“Love it or leave it”

This phrase has defined much of how mainstream Australia thinks and speaks about its immigrant population. It has found its way into public discussions, has featured in heated debates and has characterised the dislike many have for minority groups in Australia. One would hope these polarising statements find their stay only in the deep corners of the internet and away from the spotlight of actual public discussions. But that’s not the case. It is on the backdrop of this politically charged environment where the theme of ‘Love it or Leave it”, the fifth in The Middle Ground project, seeks to further the national conversation.


Australian Values

With so much diversity, who decides what Australian values are?

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A conversation with
Monique Toohey

Monique Toohey is the Managing Director and Principal Psychologist of Nasihah Consulting Group – Northern Psychology Clinic in 2005.
She is one of Australia’s leading cross-cultural psychologists and is a thought leader in the area of cultural intelligence and culture and psychology. She is a Lecturer in the Master of Clinical Counselling course at the Australian Catholic University in Cross-cultural counselling and sits on the Australian Psychological Societies’ Psychology and Culture Interest Group committee.
She has a special interest in the role of faith, mental health and wellbeing and has worked with over 40 Australian Muslim organisations and is the President elect of the Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia (JCMA), which coordinates a range of Interfaith conferences and anti-racism interfaith education initiatives in schools for students and teachers.
She has seen on ABC TV Hungry Beast and Lateline and has featured in numerous popular news site. She also has number of publications, including the book Without You: Rising Above the impact of an abusive relationship


“Love it or leave it”

Australian values have often been the centrepiece of many discussions around nationhood, immigration and multiculturalism. They have often served a determinative function in who gets accepted into the country, refugee policy as well as the broader socio-cultural atmosphere and tensions within Australia. Individuals who don’t respect or appreciate these values, are often hurled with insidious slogans and in popular jargon, told that they should “Love it or Leave it”.


“We decide who comes here”

If Australia is to be consistent with its purported, democratic, foundational values such as that of “fairness”, then it is crucial to not exclude and discredit migrants. It is vital to acknowledge their integral role in building Australia’s past, present and future. Failing to ensure such will contribute to a lack of social cohesion.


A Summary of Theme 5

The discussion is laced with assumptions around what Australian values actually are – and whether this elusive concept is credible enough to inform national sentiment around wide ranging policy discussions.

Dissecting this discussion is important as it has major implications for the wellbeing (and sometimes the lives) of minority groups in Australia.

It is on the backdrop of this politically charged environment where the theme of ‘Love it or Leave it”, the fifth in The Middle Ground project, seeks to further the national conversation.

Download Info Sheet

This info sheet is ideal for educators, community organisations and others seeking to educate and elevate community discussions on migrants and refugees.


The internet has become a site of discussion, argumentation and conjecture on all manner of life’s affairs in the last 20 years. Somewhere on the internet, some issue, profound or mundane, is always being discussed.

Politics as an area of concern is chief among these. From migration and refugees, Australian value and culture, the internet is unsurprisingly a hotbed of discussion and debate.

We present an example of how even virulent debate can – given the right conditions – facilitate surprisingly provocative discussions so long as those engaged are willing to open their minds and question their assumptions. This mock conversation resembles real discussions, highlighting that often, all it takes is a willingness to look past long-held biases to actual facts and history.

Read this curious conversation