Every week, seemingly everywhere, Australian institutions and traditions are being lost.
The latest to fall is the public swimming pool as a genuinely public place.
Infected by political correctness and pandering to minority demands, Cumberland Council has decided to partition off part of the Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre at Auburn as a modesty enclave for Muslim women.
A curtain has been installed, allowing Islamic women to swim in private.
The Council is willing to enforce a religious rule protecting female flesh from male view – a disturbing example of Sharia local government law.
This is another move towards identity segregation in Australia – subdividing the nation on the basis of race, gender, sexuality and religion.
It runs against the principles of egalitarianism and the founding ideals of multiculturalism.
As a nation blessed with a wonderful climate, we have been lucky to have so many public swimming pools.
They have always been a special Australian place: open, affordable and full of people mixing together, regardless of race and religion.
I can’t recall any reports of tension or conflict at these facilities.
In many respects, they have fulfilled the vision of multiculturalism created by Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser in the 1970s – that we should unite as a nation, as a community of peoples from across the globe.
That we should get to know each other across ethnic lines, sharing friendships and cultures.
At Auburn pool, this is no longer possible.
With a curtained off area, men and women have been separated.
Muslim women are being shielded from non-Muslim men, with the lingering inference that “privileged white men” are some kind of threat.
This is not multiculturalism. It’s segregation.
This is not Australian egalitarianism (treating each other as equals) but a mutant idea for keeping people apart.
If Muslim women have modesty issues, they should be personally responsible for dealing with them, such as by wearing a burkini.
Australia has always been a nation where public places are available to all members of the public.
But not now.
The Auburn decision is an insult to local men.
Having paid twice to access the pool – once as ratepayers and secondly, at the entrance turnstile – they should be able to use all parts of the facility.
This is the problem with identity segregation: instead of bringing Australians together, it builds resentment among excluded groups.
As Whitlam often told me, the only way of running a fair society is to treat every individual on merit, irrespective of race, religion and background.
He would be horrified at the partitioning of a Western Sydney pool.
We need to understand this basic truth: in their embrace of identity politics, Labor and the Greens no longer support the original ideals of multiculturalism.
The two concepts are incompatible.
You can’t support the segregation of people at one extreme yet still hope to maintain a national policy of mixed, integrated cultures.
Multiculturalism as we knew it is dead.
Some people will cheer for that, of course.
As an old Whitlamite, I don’t.
It breaks my heart to see what the madness of the identity-Left is doing to our county.
It’s not just in public recreation.
Last week we also learned of lunacy in the higher education system.
In their fight against “white male privilege”, the Melbourne University Student Union has produced a report urging men to pipe down in class, to contribute less frequently to group discussions.
The Union wants these male students to be more like women.
It also wants less “Australian banter” in tutorials, insisting this limits the participation of students from “diverse cultural backgrounds”.
Stone the crows, if men were more like women they would have 60 percent of university graduate numbers, instead of the current 40 percent.
This is another assault on equality of opportunity in Australia.
In this case, it’s making a disadvantaged educational group (young men) even more disadvantaged.
Research has consistently shown a problem with male adolescent learning.
Often at ages 11-15, boys will stop reading books and stop engaging in class, thinking they’re too cool to talk.
This contributes to below-average male Year 12 results and university attainment.
In terms of fairness, the Melbourne Student Union is urging an abomination: for a cohort that doesn’t speak up enough in class to speak even less.
The Union spokesperson is Yan Zhuang, of Chinese descent.
She needs to visit some of Sydney’s Asian-dominated selective high schools where, in a playground discussions about their relatively weak maths results, white male students will ask, “Why aren’t I doing better?”
Invariably their Asian mates respond, “It’s because you’re white”.
It’s not meant as a racist comment but a reflection of reality.
The notion of white male privilege in Australian education is ludicrous.
It’s an invention of the identity-Left to justify their warped view of the world.
Again, the likes of Whitlam would be horrified.
He spent a decade of his life getting the ALP to stop talking about skin colour, though the abolition of the White Australia policy.
Yet now Labor and the Greens can’t stop focusing on skin colour – in their demonisation of white men.
This is a telling moment in Australian political history: when the Left abandoned an assessment of individual need; when it stopped dealing with each Australian citizen on merit.
It’s the end of our great national tradition of meritocracy.
If only the problem were restricted to the Melbourne University Student Union.
It’s across our major institutions: the Australian Public Service, ABC, SBS, the education system, large corporations and increasingly, the police and defence forces.
The new practice is to favour one identity grouping over another, deliberately disadvantaging white men and boys.
I would hate to be a 15-year-old white-skinned lad growing up in humble circumstances in Australia today.
He can study and work as hard as he likes but he’s not going to get a fair go.
For this, we need to fight the identity-Left and what it’s doing to our once great nation.
Contact: Twitter @realmarklatham and www.marklathamsoutsiders.com