OK, I posted this in another forum.
Australian multicuturalism has worked very well. The issue here, in these riots, was that two surfers were beaten up by a gang of youths of "middle eastern appearance". This spilled into an all out brawl.
Now, Cronulla and Marubra are not the nicest suburbs to be in, there is a huge territorial war between surfer groups such as the 'Bra boys, and they often fight amongst each other. People choose to join what is known as John Howard's surf squad (i.e. they go on the dole). The issue here is gangs, groups etc tresspassing on terrotorial areas traditionally held by certain 'crews'. There has been terratorial violence between whites Australians in this area since the 60s, when surf culture really took hold. Basically, if you were the wrong crew and you tried to get onto thier beach, you bacsically got the **** kicked out of you.
"Race" riots in Australia happen probably once a year, last one I remeber was in Redfern where police were blamed for the death of a boy they were chasing, a suspect for a robbery. He fell on some iron railings and died. This led to all out rioting in the streets of Redfern, which is largely populated by Kooris, or Aboriginal Australians. Redfern is exceptionally poor, overrun with drugs and drink. There wasn't much to loot or set fire to.
I don't think you can base the fact that one riot held by Australian whites proves multiculturalism has failed. We (Aussies, Italians, Greeks, Viets, Chinese, Japanese) get on very well, probably cos we were selective in who we let in and had a policy called "White Australia" in the '50s which has largely be described as white nationalism. Since its abolition, immigration, as those of you who have travelled to Australia and wanted to stay, has been controlled strictly, usually based upon family connection and/or job/career/qualifiactions. Its fairly hard to get in, compared to the UK where, as I understand it, and correct me if I am wrong, you need to be a citizen on an EU country?
The mob here, unfortunatley, were angry about the incident and unfortunatley, struck out at the one "identifier" which is that these people were of middle eastern apperance. They could well have been Autralians (i.e. first/second generation Australians) for all they knew. Patriotism is a great thing, and I am very proud to be an Australian. We don't often show out patriotism, except for Australia day where everyone gets drunk and has a barbie. That's just how we celebrate.
However the crowds at Cronulla were looking for a cause, and found it in the colour of someone's skin.
That's not so much the point I'm trying to get at. Let's not get bogged down in historical claims to land just yet as that changes everything. Let's look at the idea that an ethnic group, given today’s legislation and convention, can claim ethnic ownership over a piece of land.