Friday, December 02, 2005

Australia and immigrants

The Jakart Post
2 December 2005

Your Letters

I refer to a letter entitled On Insight Program by Irene Fraser in The Jakarta Post on Nov. 10. It was correct of Fraser to point out that Arthur Calwell, the Australian former minister of immigration, made the comment "Two Wongs don't make a white" in the 1940s. Like many other Australians, however, Fraser is in denial of the fact that certain racist attitudes still remain in Australia -- despite how the nation has become more multi-racial, thanks to immigrants from Asia and other parts of the world.

Just because Australia has now become a multi-racial, or multi-cultural, society, that does not make it a tolerant place where immigrants or Australian citizens of non-white origins are treated with fairness, equality, or for that matter, dignity.

The reason, Professor Geoffrey Blainey points out, is that "The more emphasis that is placed on the rights of minorities and the need for affirmative action to enhance those rights, the more is the concept of democracy -- and the rights of the majority-- in danger of being weakened. But most importantly, however, Fraser was so wrong when she declared that, like Calwell, the White Australia Policy is dead.

Let me remind her of (or give her, rather) a brief history of Australia's racism. We needn't go as far back as the 1970s, when the White Australia policy officially ended, or even to the 1960s, when the masthead of the Bulletin, Australia's leading magazine, carried the slogan "Australia for the White Man"; we certainly need not go as far back as The Magic Pudding, the famous Australian children's book, that includes insults such as "you unmitigated Jew!"

Let's just take a trip to the period between the 1980s and the 1990s, when Arthur Tunstall, Australia's infamous senior sports official, made racist jokes and comments about disabled athletes; it was the same decade that saw a string of aboriginal deaths in police custody (not many white ones); and the same decade saw the rise of the One-Nation party led by Pauline Hanson, who all but called for those of Asian descent to be ejected from the country, displaying her profound international knowledge by sayingthe 2.5 billion Asians to the north "have their own language and culture."

Whatever motivated Fraser to write her letter in response to my comments on the Insight program, she needs to know better about her own people's history and realize the reality that Australia is not a racism-free society.


The Jakarta Post
10 November 2005

On Insight Program

Recently I saw on TV the SBS "Insight" Program from Jakarta and I would like to make some comments to both you, your readers and the others involved in the Insight Program.

Thang Nguyen's argument that Australians are racists referring [sic] to Arthur Calwell's quote "Two songs don't make a white." This was a bad joke; many of our politicians have been known to offend while trying to be funny.

Your audience as well as a large percentage of our population would not be familiar with the name Calwell. Nguyen implied that this was a recent comment and representative of Australian thinking in this time.

Calwell is long dead and that comment was made when he was minister of immigration, which was back in 1945-1949. He was a strong supporter of the White Australia Policy, and it, like Calwell, is also dead.

We have come a long way since then and as the world knows we have embraced many cultures and religions. Nguyen with his knowledge of our past [sic] history could have commented.

In spite of the White Australia policy, in 1909 the people elected to our upper house and parliament a Chinese man with Chinese values.

Referring to the reaction of so much support by Australians for Schapele Corby, it is not, as some on the program claimed, because "she is young and pretty"--there have been other and pretty Australians who have been charged with drug crimes but whom the Australian public have [sic] not supported. The difference is we can identify with Corby's case.

We have a history of corrupt police, politicians and criminals along with a drug trade which flourishes. Airport baggage handlers have been shown on surveillance cameras intercepting passengers' luggage.

We ask, is it beyond reasonable doubt that Corby's unlocked luggage could have easily had drugs planted in it that were meant to be off-loaded at Sydney International Airport? Certainly people in the highly paid drug trade will exploit any person and any situation for their benefit. Unfortunately there is no proof.

There was also [sic] no proof for the ordinary couple who reported after arriving at their hotel in Bali that they found an addition to their luggage. A parcel containing what they presumed was a drug.

The Australian Embassy then advised them not to report it to the police and to instead flush it down the toilet. There was no proof they would have been able to offer, therefore, they could have been accused of being drug dealers.

Ryde NSW, Australia


Anonymous skf said...

Thang's anti Australian bias is at best a bizarre little personal quirk at worst agenda driven drivel. Perhaps his feelings were hurt after his last attack on Australia when his article was exposed as poorly researched, factually incorrect and racist in own right.

But lets have some fun at his latest ramblings:

Thang writes ..Pauline Hanson "all but called for those of Asian descent to be ejected from the country"

Actually she did said no such thing or (even close) she called for the end of affirmative action for minority groups only because the rights of the majority are in danger of being weakened as a result (sound familiar? this was remarkedly simliar to the statement Thang quoted from Professor Geoffrey Blainey in support of the claim Australia was racist...bizarre..or perhaps just plain stupid)

Of course, Thang true to form forgot to inform his readers that Pauline Hanson is no longer in poltics and her party One Nation has been thoughly rejected by the Australian Voters anyway (Why let relevent facts get in the way of a story, hey Thang).

Thang then launches into that old hory. The Bulletin and its mast head "Australia for the White Man" and alludes that this was there through out the sixties. It fact it was removed in 1961 (thats over 40 Years ago Thang, you are getting desperate!), it was a sad era for Australia but maybe Thang would like to compare other SE Asian race records of a simliar time.. Race Riots in Malayasia, Singapore, the tens of thousands of ethnic chinese murdered in Indonesia...Balance Thang..Balance.

Arthur Tunstall...Thang you forgot to mention that Arthur's comments besides being fairly inane. cost him his job, his career and he made numerous public apologies.

Aborginal Deathes in custody...yep it is an issue but please tell us which country in the region you wish to compare our justice and custody procedures with..

Another poorly researched and biased article that would not get a passing grade at any junior high school worth its salt..

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your letter Australia & Immigrants of today in the Jakarta Post. Your message is crystal clear to drive home the points that some aussies still hold the sick racist attitude against Asians. Of course, Aussies will defend their own kind and will invariably deny that their counterparts were rude, cocky and arrogant when dealing especially with dark-skinned Asians (when a white man is not around).

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo on your JKT article!

10:29 PM  
Anonymous SKF said...

Hey Thang,

Anonymous obviously went to the same school you did. Blanket biased statements with no reference to facts.

Ok I will make easy for you, I don't deny there are some racists in Australia but you give me ONE (!) example of an South East Asian country that has a better record.

I even help you out by narrowing the field a bit..Malaysia...mmm nope dang sons of the earth law gets you ever time...

Indonesia...dang again..Chinese still require special cards (yea I know they canceled the law but you try and get a birth certificate)..or shall we mention the forced closure of churches

Ah..Thailand...not a good place to be Muslim or chinese

Vietnam.......ha ha ha ...

I have it should be easy for you and annoy-mouse..

You could post under another name maybe "fraudlent journo"

BTW which govt agency you work for?

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course Australia has elements of racism. Some of it is anti-asian, some anti-aboriginal, some anti-anglo celtic (some ethnic warriors call anglo-celtic australians "skips" which means, in effect, kangaroos).

We are not free from racism, any more than is Indonesia, China, New Zealand, America, or any other nation.

But we try hard (most of us) to overcome our difficulties.

3:36 AM  
Anonymous SKF said...

Anyday now we will get a response with addressing the questions posed..or not ..laugh... fraud

8:33 PM  
Blogger perdamaian said...

Your article "Australia and immigrants" is an excellent example for bad journalism. I do thank you very much for showing the world that an article based on only ONE thesis - there was/is racism in Australia - with only ONE argument - the history of racism - is biased nonsense.
Like anywhere else in the world there are some racial tensions in Australia, that is sad but true.
Values like "fairness, equality and dignity" sound nice, but there is no way to prove, that these values are honored 100% in any nation. And you certainly cannot argue "there is racism" and "there is no fairness,..." by only giving evidence from the past.
"Fraser was so wrong when she declared that, like Calwell, the White Australia Policy is dead." - At this point I had expected you to give me some evidence why this policy is not dead today. And what do I have to read? Two paragraphs on the history of racism. Well, I thought, good to point out there once was racism. But now, Thang is going to give me some good evidence - oops! No evidence what-so-ever, the article stops with some personal feelings on Mrs. Fraser.
You hold degrees of three different schools - did they never teach you how to write an essay? If you always write such **** I am sorry for the trees that had to die for your publications.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...







12:21 AM  
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7:40 PM  

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