Politicians Fuel Racism – Are You “Mainstream” Australians?

[disinformation editor's note: the author's native language is not English and he makes numerous spelling and grammar errors. We chose to publish the article notwithstanding this and hope that readers will value the author's opinions nonetheless.]

Racism is a die hard issue in Australia. While the racism against Indians across the country over the last two years has yet to show any sign of winging down,  the new opposition leader Tony Abbott begin the 2010 election year with Howard’s style racism on the issue of Immigration.

In  his Australia Day speech, Tony Abbott urged minority leaders to “respect mainstream Australian values.” He stressed that “the great prize of Australian citizenship is insufficiently appreciated and given away too lightly”. The impression I had with the tone and content of Tony Abbott’s speech are as follows:

1) Australia is doing a favour to migrants by giving them the “Great Prize” of the citizenship lightly;

2) Minority Migrants are not appreciative of Australia citizenship;

3) Minority Migrants fail to respect “Mainstream Australian values”;

4) Minority Migrants has not done the right thing to Australia.

It puzzle me that throughout Tony Abbott speech, he failed to explain unambiguously the meaning of  “mainstream Australians” and “Australian Values”.

Are you “Mainstream” Australian?

Our First Australians (Indigenous peoples) called Australia Day (26 January) an “invasion day” and would like to “change the date of Australia Day to a date that includes all Australians,” this request has been rejected by Prime Minster Rudd in 2009 ( Northern News, 25 Jan 2009). The question here is, is the term “Mainstream Australians” includes our First Australians? If not, what is “Australian values”? Who represent “Mainstream Australians”? – Our First Australians or Prime Minister Rudd?

The reality is, all human being regardless of race, language, tradition or religion are individual with their own mind and values. Each of these values and beliefs are to be respected and accommodated in order to create a harmonise society. That is, people need to learn to agree to disagree!

Even members of the same family could have different opinions, beliefs and values in regards to the same subject matter. For example, contrary to Prime Minister Rudd 2009 position on the issue of Australia Day and racism in Australia,  his  nephew, Van Rudd marks this year (26 January) ‘Invasion Day’ with anti-racism protest. So, who represent “Mainstream Australians”? Our Prime Minister or his nephew?

According to a recent survey, most Australians believe that “high-income earners do not pay enough tax, and nearly all think low- and middle-income earners pay too much”. A quick search on the Internet will provide us numerous examples of rich people spending big money on accountants and legal experts to fight the Australian Tax Office in order to minimise their tax obligation to Australia. Just to name two examples:

(1) Our late Kerry Packer (Richest man in Australia): Packer tax case and The dark side of Kerry Packer; and

(2) Our famous “Crocodile Dundee” actor Paul Hogan: Paul Hogan loses bid to stop ATO examining US bank accounts and Paul Hogan on Nine Network Sixty Minutes, paid his ATO tax.

So, do these rich people represent “Mainstream Australians”, do their effort to minimise their tax obligation to Australia represent “Australian values”?

Australia has no value – the term “Mainstream Australians” is simply another form of racism

Like any human society, Australians as individuals have a variety of views and values on a variety of issues. For examples:

There are people who passionately want to retain the British’s Queen as our Queen (we called them Monarchists), there are also people who passionately want Australia to become a Republic to reflect the reality that modern Australia is made up of migrants from all over the world; In term of religions, there are believers (Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Christians, etc) and non-believers (Atheists, etc); Even among the Christian populations, there are history of conflict between Catholic and  Protestants; Politically, there are right wing, left wing; there are pro-gay and anti-gay; there are  pro-abortion and anti-abortion; there are criminal and police; there are very wealthy people and homeless;  there are emigration and immigration; there are ruling party and opposition party; the list of contradiction within the populations is simply too lengthy to be listed.

It is like the Chinese philosophy of “Ying and Yang”, only through mutual respect and inclusion where harmony could be achieved.

Therefore, the term “mainstream” Australians is simply another form of racism representing a section of the population trying to control and assimilate all others. It is divisive and meaningless as I believe that, no body could possibly provide a flawless definition on the term “mainstream Australians”.

Migration to and from Australia is a two way traffics

The movement of people across the world is an ancient issue not exclusively Australia. There are many reasons for people to move from places to places within a country or from countries to countries. People move around for all kind of reasons. For examples,

Escape from wars such the displacement caused by the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003; Escape from prosecution such as the Nazi Holocaust; Escape from natural disaster such as Earth Quake (Haiti), Tsunami (Samoa), flood (Katrina in America), famine, the spread of disease and so on.

There are also migration against one will, for examples, the First fleet to Australia and the African slavery during the colonial era.

People also move from country to country for economic reasons (career and business opportunities); family reasons (following the new career posting of a love one and marriage); personal reasons (education, the love for travel, the love for certain culture or living environment, weather condition or humanitarian effort, etc).

According to the ABS (latest update: 7 April 2006), under the heading: Population Growth: Leaving Australia, states that: “Over the past five years, the number of Australian-born people leaving Australia permanently has doubled.”, “interest in emigration has shifted to its impact on the composition of the workforce. The recent higher levels of emigration are causing concern that skill shortages are being created or exacerbated in some fields.”

In fact, the number of Australian leaving Australia permanently each year is by the ten of thousands for a variety of reasons. According to ABS, “for Australian-born persons, emigration is more likely to be a result of increasing internationalisation of labour markets and increasing global demand for skilled workers. In contrast, overseas-born emigrants often leave permanently to return to their former country of birth because of feelings of homesickness or insecurity. Older emigrants often depart after they retire from the workforce, while widowhood and divorce can also motivate departures among the overseas born.”

Therefore, the issue of immigration and emigration is a two way traffics. We should use a normal heart to respect the desire of a fellow human being to seek a better life elsewhere through migration in the form of employment, marriage or refugee.

The shifting of wealth and economic power from West to East in the 21st Century

If history is of any indication, the rise and fall of a civilisation is an inevitable process. The Roman Empire did not last forever; the Crusader was unable to hold on to Jerusalem; Spain was unable to prevent the rise of Britain; and Britain was unable to prevent the independent and rise of America. The 2008 Wall Street Financial Tsunami resulted in the decline in the number of migrants from Mexico to USA (New York Times,  14 May 2009).

21st Century may be a century shifting away from the West, the following news headlines may provide some insight  into the trend of the new world order within the next few decades:

1) China Will Continue to Drive the Global Economic Recovery in 2010 (Money Morning, 3 Dec 2009)

2) China Playing Important Role in Steadying World Economy, Zoellick Says (World Bank, 2 Sept 2009)

3) Australia Economy to ride a second wave of China stimulation (The Australian, 4 Dec 2009)

4) China Outrunning the Global Recovery and Still Looking Ahead (Money Morning, 22 Jan 2010)

5) Growth in China continues to influence East Asia’s economic recovery, two new World Bank reports say (World Bank, 3 Nov 2009)

The attractiveness of Western countries in the form of wages, social welfare, political stability may also be in the process of declining in the 21st century if the western politicians unable to manage the current crisis effectively. For examples:

1) America’s decade of dread (Washington Post, 16 Dec 2009)

2) A Rising Anti-Government Tide (Washington Post, 22 May 2009)

3) Obama Orders 1 Million US Troops To “Prepare For Civil War” (Pakalert Press, 30 Nov 2009)

4) Paulson Was Behind Bailout Martial Law Threat (Prison Planet, 20 Nov 2008)

5) Medicare and Social Security are in terrible shape. Unfortunately, private-sector health and pension plans are doing even worse (Slate, 27 May 2009)

6) Budget scenario bleak for Montgomery schools (Washington Post, 9 Dec 2009)

7) Foreclosures Force Ex-Homeowners to Turn to Shelters (New York Time, 18 Oct 2009)

8) California’s Zigzag on Welfare Rules Worries Experts (New York Time, 6 Oct 2009)

9) Poverty rates increase in 31 US states, says Census Bureau (The Australian, 29 Sept 2009)

10) Breadline USA: Why People Are Going Hungry in the Land of Plenty (Alternet, 4 July 2009)

Australia is also facing a series of new and accumulated problem throughout the country in the 21st century (For examples, the currently hotly debated issue of aging population; the record level of national and individual debts; the lack of hospital funding; years of water mismanagement with dying rivers; Global warming with disastrous weather pattern such as the threat of flood, bush fire, sand storm; the threat to the survival of the Great Barrier Reef and a series of social imbalance in the form of the number of homeless and housing affordability etc. All these required finance, technology and human resources to overcome. Can Australia cope with these challenges with on-going racism against migrants (an important contributor to the economy) fuelled by politicians?

Australia may be a lucky country due to its natural resources, and was blessed by the wave of China economic dynamic and strong demand for its resources (Iron Ore, natural gas etc) over the last decade, if our politicians continue to stir racism against migrants and countries in the Asia Pacific region, the middle east and Africa, I am afraid,  Australia will eventually pay the price from the racism and political myopia of its right wing politicians. The recent drastic reduction of Indian student enrolment to Australia universities is just an example deserve policy maker attention. (Brisbane Times, 7 Jan 2010 – Indian student numbers plummet).

The reality is, most Western countries including Australia after decades of restless spending will have to cut back their social welfare program in order to cope with the declining economy and rising national debt as a result of their recent borrowing to stimulate their economy. While China, after 30 years of economic reform with accumulated wealth and foundation to push its economy upwards, it is in the process of extending its social welfare program to its citizens. For examples:

1) A quick look at 60 years of China’s development (World Bank, 8 Oct 2009)

2) A decision to increase the amount of pension for retirees (Hong Kong Media – Ifeng in Chinese language, 20 Nov 2008)

3) A decision to speed up its investment in the poorer Western region (Hong Kong Media – Ifeng in Chinese language, 16 Oct 2009)

4)  Strategies to improve infrastructure in rural areas,  the development of health, culture, environmental ecology and housing security (Hong Kong Media – Ifeng in Chinese language,  20 Nov 2008)

5) Education: 700,000 impoverished students receive subsidy (Global Time, 20 Aug 2009)

6)  Every Chinese Village To Get Health Clinic (CBS News, 8 April 2009)

7) China plan to resolve 7.47 million low income urban families housing problem within 3 years (Hong Kong media – Ifeng in Chinese language, 2 Jun 2009)

8) From poor areas to poor people: China’s evolving poverty reduction agenda (World Bank)

What will Australia born emigrants feel if the new country they called home begin to treat them like Tony Abbott?

The anticipated shift in the economic powerhouse from the West to the East will inevitably results in the increasing flow of migrants from the West to the East for better life style, business and career opportunities in the decades to come. I wonder, what will Australia born emigrants feel if their new country they called home begin to behave like Tony Abbott and former Prime Minister John Howard?

Australia Media love to put migrants on the TV screen each and every year telling the world that Australia is the best country! Australia is not a racist country! Are we?

Let’s respect each other as a fellow human being. We are all equal. Aren’t we!

Related articles on Racism in Australia:

Let’s not deny the evidence that Australia has a problem with racism—General Cosgrove is right….

Evidences of Australia Media Fueling Racism against Minorities

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  • http://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com/ Bradfield Resident

    Without intending to defend (nor necessarily know nor understand) the words/actions/intentions of Kevin Rudd and/or Tony Abbott, I object to the whole pretext of this rant.

    “Mainstream” is a word that has readily discovered definition/description in dictionaries and resources such as Wikipedia (which you may or may not trust for “important” information, but for general information on what words mean seems like a safe enough bet).

    example: mainstream – adjective – Purchased, used or accepted broadly rather than by a tiny fraction of population or market; common, usual or conventional.

    The Wikipedia article reads, “Mainstream is, generally, the common current of thought of the majority. However, the mainstream is far from cohesive; rather the concept is often considered a cultural construct” but later, also, “mainstream is sometimes a codeword used for an actual ethnocentric or hegemonic subculture point of view, especially when delivered in a culture war speech.” To my mind, the first part is totally relevant, and the later part relevant to some extent, though without knowing more about the speech(es) I'd rather not guess to what extent.

    Indigenous Australians may or may not be part of “the mainstream”, and that rather depends on the individual's lifestyle, economic situation, and so on, just as it does for any person. However, even all indigenous Australian's combined do not particularly affect what might be considered “mainstream”, since their numbers are so relatively few (“At 30 June 2006, the Indigenous estimated resident population of Australia was 517,200 or 2.5% of the total population.” — http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/…)

    To claim to not understand what “mainstream” means then build a massive emotional argument on top of it is disingenuous.

    I am Australian, and I am concerned about racism both here and elsewhere. It is, of course, terrible that any person be attacked, be it in their home town or overseas studying, but it seems to me that a number of incidents involving people from India is being interpreted as a general attack on all Indians by everyone, and to me that just doesn't make any sense. Is there really a crime wave against Indians specifically? Crimes (unfortunately) occur all the time against people of all origins and persuasions. The violent thugs involved are extremely unlikely to be receiving directions from the Prime Minister (nor Tony Abbott) to attack Indian students, for example, and I might suggest that they are people who are somewhat on the fringe of the law and/or society themselves. I'd like to suggest that “mainstream” Australia has no desire to attack innocent people in the street.

    * * * * *

    Noted error: the “Over the past five years, the number of Australian-born people leaving Australia permanently has doubled” quote is from a document titled '4102.0 – Australian Social Trends, 2001' (not 2006, as suggested), referring to the period 1995-2000, so hardly “the past five years”.

    • N S

      Noted error: If you browse through at the bottom of that document titled '4102.0 – Australian Social Trends, 2001', it was update on 2006

      • http://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com/ Bradfield Resident

        The charts (and one might assume the commentary on the data) only go up to 2000.

    • http://www.outcastjournalist.com/ Wei Ling Chua

      If you click on the name Bradfield Resident, it will bring you to the person who contribute his opinion: Mr. Barry O'Farrell, was elected as Leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party and as Leader of the Opposition in April 2007 (Detail in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_O%27Farrell).

      Tony Abbott, the Politican concern in this article is the Federal leader of the Liberal Party.

      • http://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com/ Bradfield Resident

        I don't know how you arrived at that conclusion. I have had correspondence with Barry O'Farrell, as well as other Australian politicians. That does not make me any (and certainly not) all of those politicians.

        I am a private citizen and do not (and have not) held any public office.

  • http://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com/ Bradfield Resident

    With regards to the decline in Indian student enrollments, I think the following formula attributed to Peter Sandman (risk communication consultant), lifted from the book 'Freakonomics', is relevant here:

    Risk = hazard + outrage

    where the outrage, in this case, is evidently very high. I have a feeling that the actual hazard is minimal (about the same hazard as for any other person living in Australia). That is, the Indian students declining to study in Australia perceive the risk to be very high, despite the actual hazard being low.

    Yes, Australia may suffer (economic and other) consequences. Meanwhile, those students are forgoing a possibly valuable Australian education (I don't want to get into discussion about that value; I'm going on the basis that, without the recent violence, the option was attractive for whatever reasons to them).

  • dumbsaint

    It's kind of unfair to structure your arguement around Tony Abbot's point of view. He does not represent mainstream Australia's attitude. We voted for Rudd- while Abbot has just recently been endorsed by his political party only. The guy used to be a joke. The kind of politician that makes a big deal out of going to church and bringing the TV cameras along.

    It's then claimed that Rudd is somehow racist as he wont entertain the notion of changing Australia Day? Of course he's not going to do that as it would piss off the majority of his electorate. Very few nations around the world could look at the reality of their founding with pride, yet I don't think anyone would deny the validity of celebrating that it was founded. We have a tradition of doing that on the 26th of jan for whatever reason.

    It just goes downhill from there. Rich bastards dodge their tax – what's your point? Yes mainstream australia is hard to pin down. I agree – this is why you stuggle to illustrate it in your articles and think that quote mining conservative politicians somehow suffices.

    Towards the end this aritcle almost reads as schadenfreude as the Author hints that Australia is about to get it's come uppance when the 'east' will rise. Slow down tex I thought our goal here was mutual respect.

    This is the third such rant I've read on Disinfo now. I personally abhor biggotry of any form and have been subject to it myself – so normally it's within my interests to get the word out as it were but the picture the author is trying to paint here is just inaccurate. Yes racism is around in Australia and it will occasionally flare into isolated events of violence but it's hardly nazi germany down here.

  • Quarkflavorfive

    “We are all equal. Aren’t we!”

    You tell me. As Dumbsaint pointed out, toward the end of your article you plainly devolve into “See how great China is? And we're gonna getcha!”

    I'm glad that you have the right to express yourself, but frankly your pro-Chinese apologetics (disguised as anti-racist finger-wagging at Australia) make my skin crawl.

  • Rich

    This is a rant by Wei Ling Chua (a Chinese immigrant in Australia) who is trying to portray the idea that China is going to dominate the world (even with references to a New World Order) and how superior the Chinese genes are, what a joke.

    She mentions Australia's water issues and mismanagement: what about the Chinese towns that are sinking and crumbling because they have sucked so much ground water out from underneath them to feed their ridiculous population? And what is the superior “Chinese” solution to this problem? Pump massive amounts of sea water back in to stabilize it, even a fifth grader would know what a total disaster this will cause.

    She mentions freedom of values and ideals and how everyone's version is different: At least Australia does not persecute and kill minority Muslims, Falon Gung etc. And Tienanmen Square speaks for itself.

    And what about the biggest problem, population. Australia has done the right thing and kept our population in check and remains steady at about 22 million. China, well they are unable to use contraception it seems and have the biggest population on the planet, consumes more than any other nation and is destroying not only their own environment, but other nations as well as well.

    Wei Ling Chua, please take a long hard look at China, and for that matter yourself before you post a rant with meaningless links to news articles maligning Australia and portraying China to be something it is clearly not.

    • http://www.outcastjournalist.com/ Wei Ling Chua

      Sorry, I am not a Chinese immigrant.
      My background is at: http://www.outcastjournalist.com/index_my_apolo

      You no need to be a Chinese to speak up for China. Check out the following internet links on the issue of Tibet:

      -Global Research article – Western Media Fabrications regarding the Tibet Riots – Fake Videotape used by .
      CNN – 16 April 2008 by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky (Canadian).: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=

      · YouTube Video: Tibet (The Truth) – A Political History, by an American Hollywood Producer, 5 April 2008
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xsoc4-QnplY

      · YouTube Video: Free Tibet! The real Tibet may have you shocked! By another 2 Americans who knew the truth, 1 April 2008: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siBqFgwL-lA&feat

      There are a lot of this kind of videos on Youtube produced by non-Chinese.

      For the 8 facts about the issue of Tibet and Xinjiang, please read the last part of this web page: http://www.outcastjournalist.com/index_free_res

      As stated in my statement of apology to all Westerners in my website:
      http://www.outcastjournalist.com/index_my_apolo…, the best policy

      I mean no evil. The strategy I adopted to write my articles is to use facts, figures to directly compare varies issues such as human right, minority policy, war crimes etc, between the accusers and those being accused….

      I apologise to anybody who do not feel conformtable with the content of my articles. My main purpose is to provide reverse thinking to eliminate racism of all form.

  • http://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com/ Bradfield Resident

    News about alleged attacks on Indians by Australians:

    Brumby slams Indian government and media – 03/Feb/2010
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/brumby-slams-ind

    Jaspreet Singh, 29, of Grice Crescent, Essendon, in the city's north, claimed he was set alight by unknown assailants near his home last month.

    But police allege he accidentally burned himself while torching his car for an insurance claim.

    Mr Singh faced an out-of-sessions hearing before a bail justice at St Kilda Road police complex yesterday, charged with making a false report to police and criminal damage with a view to gaining a financial advantage.

    The case made international headlines, linked to a series of attacks by white Australians on Indian nationals in Melbourne.

    [...]

    Mr Brumby referred to the death of Indian Ranjodh Singh, whose body was found on the side of a road in southern NSW in late December.

    “I think the point needs to be made that the people who have been charged with that murder are both Indians,” he said.

    [...]

    ..married Indian couple Gurpreet Singh, 23, and wife Harpreet Bhullar, 20, as well as another man, Harpreet Singh, have been charged with Ranjodh Singh's murder.

  • Tyge

    Read online report (theage.com.au) 7th Jan 2010.very true

  • Tyge

    Read online report (theage.com.au) 7th Jan 2010.very true

  • cosmobonobo

    Wei Ling Chua,
    bigotry and racism are dreadful and we must strive to eliminate them in all their forms. Historically, Australia has at times displayed racist tendencies, particularly in the destructive impact of European colonization upon the country’s aboriginal people. The White Australia Policy was symptomatic of an insular and intolerant mindset that was all too common in previous decades. And of course these insidious attitudes linger on in pockets of our society. No country is completely free of idiots and thugs.
    However, I would argue that contemporary Australia is one of the most successful liberal democracies on earth today. Successful not only in a narrow economic sense but in the development of a free and fair society that encourages tolerance of all ways of life within the bounds of legality. It is a country in which all citizens have a decent chance of a good life.
    This happy state of affairs is partly the result of certain fortuitous geographical advantages, but above all it came about because Australia is one of the oldest continous democracies on the planet. The parliamentary and legal system that we have inherited and developed from our British founders has on the whole served us well.
    China and other other East Asian countries are increasingly playing a crucial role in 21 Century Global Civilisation but many of these countries would do well to look towards Australia as a model when it comes to building a flourishing civic society.
    This is the ‘mainstream Australia’ that is worth celebrating and defending.   
         

  • cosmobonobo

    Wei Ling Chua,
    bigotry and racism are dreadful and we must strive to eliminate them in all their forms. Historically, Australia has at times displayed racist tendencies, particularly in the destructive impact of European colonization upon the country’s aboriginal people. The White Australia Policy was symptomatic of an insular and intolerant mindset that was all too common in previous decades. And of course these insidious attitudes linger on in pockets of our society. No country is completely free of idiots and thugs.
    However, I would argue that contemporary Australia is one of the most successful liberal democracies on earth today. Successful not only in a narrow economic sense but in the development of a free and fair society that encourages tolerance of all ways of life within the bounds of legality. It is a country in which all citizens have a decent chance of a good life.
    This happy state of affairs is partly the result of certain fortuitous geographical advantages, but above all it came about because Australia is one of the oldest continous democracies on the planet. The parliamentary and legal system that we have inherited and developed from our British founders has on the whole served us well.
    China and other other East Asian countries are increasingly playing a crucial role in 21 Century Global Civilisation but many of these countries would do well to look towards Australia as a model when it comes to building a flourishing civic society.
    This is the ‘mainstream Australia’ that is worth celebrating and defending.