The landmark of Cronulla

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Social Cohesion in Australia, 2007, pp. 61 - 69
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© James Jupp, John Nieuwenhuysen, Emma Dawson 2007. In Sydney on Sunday, 11 December 2005, riots on Sydney's Cronulla beach sent a tremor through Australian community relations. Images of thousands of mainly drunk white males chasing and bashing isolated men and women of ‘Middle Eastern appearance’ were compelling viewing for media audiences in Australia, and overseas (Poynting 2006). Days later, a retaliatory gang of males of ‘Middle Eastern appearance’ sought revenge in a smash, bash and flee raid in their cars on the suburbs surrounding Cronulla. For months afterwards, an unprecedentedly large police presence dominated the sandscape of Sydney's famous beaches, successfully preventing further reverberations and escalation of racial conflict. The ramifications and significance of these events should not be underestimated. Sydney is one of the greatest immigrant cities in the world today. At the 2001 Census 58 per cent of Sydneysiders were first- or second-generation immigrants, with some 180 birthplaces recorded for the city's resident population. Australia overall has, in relative terms, more immigrants from a greater diversity of backgrounds than most countries in the world today, making it one of the most cosmopolitan of contemporary Western nations. To some international commentators (Huntington 1997, 2004), the clash of ethnicities and religions, mostly a product of immigration policies, threatens Western societies in fundamental ways, particularly after 9/11. Recent events overseas and in Australia associate immigration and ethnic diversity with conflict and violence.
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