MY excuse for this column is Julia Gillard. She's the one who says we need to bring in "the right kind of migrants".
More importantly, our new Prime Minister says she wants us to talk frankly at last about boat people - and, I presume - other immigrants.
"I'd like to sweep away any sense that people should close down any debate, including this debate, through a sense of self-censorship or political correctness," she declared.
I hope she means it, because here are some facts of the kind that normally invite screams of "racist" and an inquisition from our shut-your-face human rights tribunals.
They are the kind of facts that also have so many voters so steamed up about just a few thousand boat people - or, to put it another way, about thousands of people who barge in, having destroyed their identity documents, and expect us to believe they'll be model citizens.
BRITISH police this month revealed that most men charged in London for gun crime, robberies and street crime are black, even though blacks make up just 12 per cent of Londoners.
BRITAIN'S Centre for Social Cohesion this month said two-thirds of 124 Islamist terrorists convicted there since 1999 were of British nationality, and almost half were of Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Indian heritage.
A THIRD of the gang members in Canada's prisons have African ancestry, although just 2.5 per cent of the population are African Canadians.
SWEDES with a Middle Eastern nationality are 6.6 times more likely than Swedish citizens to be in prison. For Africans it's 10.9 times.
Now to Australia ...
THE 20 people convicted here for terrorism offences are all Muslim.
AUSTRALIANS born in Tonga and Samoa are about five times more likely than the rest of us to be jailed.
AUSTRALIANS born in Romania, Vietnam, Sudan and Lebanon have jail rates much higher than the average (and Chinese and Indians much lower).
So, yes, let's talk about bringing in "the right kind of migrants".
Before I do, let me make the standard disclaimers. You're right, most people from whatever community or group I've mentioned are law-abiding, and race is not related to crime. It's culture that counts. Now back to the adult talk.
Many Western societies, especially in Europe, now realise how dumb they were to not consider how the cultures of some immigrants might limit their ability to fit in. Too scared of seeming racist, they today reap the whirlwind.
Large, unassimilated minorities in France have made some suburbs almost no-go areas, with regular race riots.
In Britain, home-born Muslim extremists have killed scores of fellow Britons.
In Scandinavia, crime has soared, and cartoonists in Sweden and Denmark are targets of assassination plots from angry Muslims.
In Holland, the director of a film critical of Islam was butchered.
Australia has been spared anything quite so dramatic, perhaps thanks to our superb ability to assimilate so many nationalities and faiths, from Greeks to Chinese, and Buddhists to Sikhs.
Even so, with one category of immigrant we now have more trouble than we've known before.
A significant minority of our 340,000 Muslims seem not only unable to fully assimilate, but unwilling. Some seem even antagonistic to the society that has given them a safe and rich home.
Examples? A conference of 500 Muslims in Sydney last week, organised by the Muslim Hizb ut-Tahrir group, was told that democracy was haram (forbidden) for Muslims, and believers "must adhere to Islam and Islam alone". This group so believes its loyalty to Islam trumps its loyalty to its new home that it refuses to condemn suicide attacks on our troops in Muslim lands.
Or take our most prominent Muslim cleric, Egyptian-born Sheikh Taj el-Din al Hilaly. Rather than help to preserve the peace of his new home, he's praised suicide bombers as "heroes", described the September 11 terrorist attacks as "God's work against oppressors", and exalted the Hezbollah terrorist group.
Just last month he addressed an anti-Israel rally in Sydney, waving a Turkish flag and crying "Down with Israel", "Turkey is coming!" and "Iran is ready!"
He knows he has an audience for such them-against-us war talk. When five local Muslims were convicted this year of planning terrorist attacks against us, 10 imams and 20 Muslim "community leaders" met at his Lakemba mosque to draw up a statement - not to decry this wicked plot, but to attack the police.
No wonder the Federal Government's White Paper on counter-terrorism this year warned that since 2004 we'd had an "increase in the terrorist threat from people born or raised in Australia, who have become influenced by the violent jihadist message".
It added: "The scale of the problem will continue to depend on factors such as the size and make-up of local Muslim populations, including their ethnic and/or migrant origins."
Which means the more Muslims we take in (up to 28,000 a year now), the more trouble we may expect from them or, more often, their children.
All this you may still shrug off, trusting to our genius for making migrants feel at home. But I fear we may have reached a tipping point both in numbers and in attitudes.
When my own parents migrated here half a century ago, Australia had a strong sense of self and of pride. It then gladly built a future (think Snowy River scheme) and felt no shame for our past.
BUT now? We ask children from very proud, if not xenophobic, immigrant cultures to pledge a deeper loyalty to an Australia that we ourselves damn as racist, greedy and planet-raping. Why would they agree to such a lousy deal?
The latest example is a new guide to teaching Islam in schools, published by Melbourne University's Centre for Excellence in Islamic Studies.
It barely mentions the Islamist terrorism that is the main cause of what it dismisses as our "racism" towards Muslims, and refers to al-Qaida, the killer of so many of us, as merely one of several "famous names".
Terrorism is brushed off as one of the "constant reminders of this distrust" between the West and Islam, for which the West is blamed most.
Only one reason is given for high Muslim unemployment - "underlying discrimination and prejudice towards non-Europeans in Australia".
So why have Christian Lebanese done so much better here on almost every measure, even providing Victoria with a premier and NSW with a governor?
Is the difference really nothing to do with Islam, the faith of so many poor nations? Is Muslim poverty, terrorism and crime really just the fault of our miserable society?
Or is our real fault to have apologised too much for what we are, and to have failed to protect this great society from newcomers too disposed by their culture to reject our own?