Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Australia is an immigrant country and multiculturalism is at the heart of the Australian story, said Prime Minister Tony Abbott this week, while addressing an ethnic media conference in Melbourne. “I want people to join the team, but there is no Australian test, and the whole point of multiculturalism is to allow people to join the team in their own way and at their own pace,” said the prime minister, who went on to describe his position on multiculturalism as a “very small l liberal, if you like”.“Except for the indigenous people every single Australian is a migrant, or the descendant of migrants. We should always remember that, particularly when questions are raised about integration and attachments. While those who were born here never had to consciously opt for Australia, every single person who comes here has deliberately, consciously, willingly opted for Australia, he or she has voted with his or her feet for Australia,” said Mr Abbott. In a wide ranging interview the Prime Minister of Australia amongst others referred to the back down of his government in relation to section 18C of the Race Discrimination Act and the name issue of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, (FYROM). He also committed his support for an expanded export oriented education system, talked about the guiding principles of his foreign policy, clarified certain issues of his new proposed tougher standing on terrorism and indicated that migrants should be prepared to bear the costs of bringing to Australia their elderly parents.“This is a government which is committed to multicultural Australia and one of the reasons why we decided to drop the proposed changes to section 18C of the Race Discrimination Act was because we don’t want to be needlessly divided.I made the call in the interest of community harmony, in the interest of trying to ensure that as far as it is humanly possible Australians are pulling in the same direction. It’s not often governments and Prime Ministers say we didn’t get it right and I’m prepared to accept that on that particular issue we didn’t get it right,” said the Prime Minister.According to Mr Abbott the three guiding foreign policy principles of his Coalition government are: “We advance our interests, we protect our citizens and we uphold our values.”Asked about why Australia does not recognise FYROM with its own self proclaimed constitutional name, as other countries do, Tony Abbott said: “It’s a long time since I turned my attention to FYROM as we used to call it in those days. Our natural predisposition is to call countries what they wish to be called, in some instances, for reasons of international diplomacy, we don’t follow the general rule. I’m going to pass on that question. I’ll come back to you”, said the Prime Minister, to the journalist who asked the question.Speaking about International Education, he described it as a very important Australian export industry and that he would like to see it expanded. Education Minister Christopher Pyne and Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison are talking with the sector in order to ensure this can happen he said, whilst emphasising that he would like to see a much greater student exchange program between Australia and other regional countries. Addressing the issue of possible threats of terrorist acts inside Australia he said that some of the announced extra 630 million dollars that will be allocated will be used to boost biometric screenings in airports, the presence of ASIS abroad and the ability of ASIO to monitor more people in Australia, once they come back from possible trouble spots abroad.“It is in the interest of every single Australian that we are protected against potential internal terrorist threats. It’s particularly in the interest of our migrant communities that we are protected against potential domestic terrorism, because there are few things that will strain our social fabric as much as a major terrorist event here in Australia. It will strain our social fabric. As Prime Minister my first duty as far as it is humanly possible, is to maintain the safety and the unity of our country,” he said.“I think it is very important that as far as it is possible, when you come to the new world you are focused to your new home. Naturally, you will cherish what you bring from your old home, but it is the new home and the future rather than the old home and the past which should be our fundamental focus,” he stressed.Pressed by a relevant Neos Kosmos question, Prime Minister Tony Abbott qualified his words by stating in his concluding remarks that he is not referring to entire communities when he talks about national security, but to individual people “Who have left this country to engage in terrorism abroad” and then come back home. The Prime Minister was accompanied in his news conference by the Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews who justified the inclusion of the portfolio of multiculturalism and citizenship in his own Department as a deliberate government policy aiming at providing integrated settlement services to all migrants.