Analysis: Are Australians anti-Asian? Or is it just politics?

Mr. Tony Abbott,

Leader of the Opposition

tony.abbott.mp@aph.gov.au 

Dear Mr. Abbott,

We refer to the reports below for your information. 

Would you like to comment, please? 

Yours truly, 

Eddie Hwang

President

Unity Party WA

unitywa@westnet.com.au

http://twitter.com/unitypartywa

http://unitywaorg.blogspot.com.au/

www.unitywa.org

Phone/Fax: 61893681884

Date: 20-Apr-2012.

Environmental Friendly – Save the Trees/use email.

UPWA is the only political party that calls a spade a spade.

 

Analysis: Are Australians anti-Asian? Or is it just politics?

By Anna Watanabe Apr 19, 2012 9:47PM UTC

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Two months ago, the Australian Minister of Immigration Chris Bowen made an address to the Sydney Institute describing what he called the ‘genius of multiculturalism’ within Australian society. In his speech, he outlined three aspects of this so-called ‘genius’: respect for Australian values; citizenship-centred multiculturalism; and political bipartisanship. 

An email from a NSW Liberal Party insider says Tony Abbot’s right-wing Liberal Party are anti-Asian. Picture: AP

Minister Bowen, like many Australians prides our country’s long and rich history of multiculturalism. What’s interesting is that he emphasises that after 1970, when government immigration policies changed from the infamous White Australia Policy to Multiculturalism, the integration of other communities and cultures were encouraged for mostly socially – not economically or politically – beneficial reasons.

And it’s true: Australian society has benefited immensely from multiculturalism. I often tell people overseas, what Australians lack in national history, compared to most other nations, we make up for it in our varied diets.

But while a superficial glance suggests Australian society has benefited from various waves of immigration, how much have these immigrants been able to contribute to their communities, politically speaking.

How bipartisan is Minister Bowen’s ‘political bipartisanship’ on which his ‘genius of multiculturalism’ rests?

Recently an email, claiming to be written by a NSW Liberal Party insider, has been sent to several mastheads, suggesting there is a strong anti-Asian sentiment within the party. The sender claims that an unusual, American-style “primary”, or pre-selection vote, in the Western Suburbs seat of Greenway is an attempt to de-seat the previous candidate, Jayme Diaz from running again. 

“Asians/ethnics are used to contest safe labor seats but once the seat becomes winnable, The [sic] liberal [sic] party elders install candidates that are Caucasians,” it reads.

Tony Abbot has reportedly blamed Greenway, amongst other seats, for his loss to Labor in the last federal election. Greenway was lost to Labor’s Michelle Rowland by just 702 votes.

Although the official Liberal Party line is that the primary is simply an “experiment” to give the electorate a say in the party’s candidate to contest the next federal election, another Liberal source has told the Sun Herald otherwise. 

”The entire motivation for the discussion in the party around primaries was how do you fix the seat of Greenway because it’s a mess.”

Diaz, a prominent member of the electorate’s Filipino community has signed many new members and would be re-endorsed should a regular preselection process be held.

Adding further fuel to the fire that the experimental primary is designed to de-seat Diaz are reports that the migration lawyer has “gone into hiding”.

The email goes on to mention other popular politicians with Asian heritage like the Dai Le in Cabramatta and Chang Lim in Parramatta, all of whom have been “drubbed” by the party based on their ethnicity.

But the real thrust of the letter is that the Liberal Party is anti-Asian.

“The faces of Liberal representatives in canberra [sic] would lead you to believe there are no Asians living in Australia or Asians arent [sic] citizens who vote and hence should not be represented.”

And our insider has a point: there are no federal government shadow ministers of Asian ethnicity, even though Australians with Chinese heritage are the fifth largest ethnic group in Australia and almost 4 per cent of the total population.

Hong Lim, the sole Asian member of Victorian state parliament made a similar comment at the beginning of the year.

He told The Age that while Asian Australians do disproportionately well in the corporate sector, compared to other ethnic groups, they are still under represented and have no say in national debates. 

”This is not right. Because of the sheer numbers, the sheer wealth, the sheer brain power they have, they should have something more.”

Both Lim and our insider want to know: “Where is the liberal equivalent of Senator Penny Wong?”

But Lim looks further and asks why Asian Australians are so underrepresented across other sectors of society.

”They are not on TV, not public intellectuals, or human rights or social justice activists. There are none in the judiciary,” he told The Age.

But Benjamin Herscovitch of The Centre of Independent Studies sees things differently. The policy analyst told Asian Correspondent that, from a social mobility point of view, Asian Australians do very well. 

“The desires of those among the Asian Australian population to pursue other career paths rather than being involved in the political process, should be noted. The representation of Asians are high amongst other career groups,” he said.

So could it be possible that Asian Australians are just less interested in moving into politics?

Unfortunately, the Liberal Party didn’t return any calls or emails so it’s difficult to say for sure. But what we can say is that our media and news continue to be saturated by ‘White’ Australians, despite our ethnic makeup.

But wait, there’s more.

Research from the Lowy Institute suggests yet another reason why we have so few Asian political figures: compared to other countries, Australians just don’t like Asians as much as other nationalities. 

Measuring how they felt towards other countries in terms of ‘warm’ or ‘cold’ on a thermometer (0 degrees being very cold, 50 degrees being neither and 100 degrees being very warm), the 1002 adults surveyed in the 2011 Lowy Poll rated our Asian neighbours between 67 and 51 degrees. Japan was the country people felt most warmly towards at 67 degrees while China rated 53 degrees, just above Indonesia at 51 degrees. 

How Australians feel towards other countries. Picture: The Lowy Institute, 2011 Poll

In comparison, New Zealand scored 88 degrees while Great Britain and the US were given 79 and 70 degrees, respectively.

While these results may seem unsurprising, compared to New Zealand, Australians seem to feel less warmly towards Asian countries.

The Asia New Zealand Foundation mirrored questions asked by the Lowy Institute and returned some surprising results. The order in which the countries are ranked are roughly the same, however New Zealanders feel almost 10 degrees warmer on average towards Asian countries, rating China at 70 degrees and Indonesia at 65. 

If such results are anything to go by, perhaps it is not the Liberal Party who should be blamed for anti-Asian sentiments, but Australian society as a whole. If these primary selection processes truly are about de-seating Asian candidates based on ethnicity, could it be a pre-emptive move to make sure a safe candidate is ready to be elected?

It’s unfortunate to think that a country that has built itself up on multiculturalism could have such deep-seated racial issues, especially at a time when our relations with Asian nations are becoming more important. So perhaps before Minister Bowen makes any more speeches on the ‘genius’ of multiculturalism in Australia.

Survey shows racism

January 23, 2012 

Thirty per cent of people in the IT and finance sectors have firsthand experience of racism, a new survey shows. Photo: Jason South

ALMOST three-quarters of finance and information technology workers say racism exists in Australian hiring practices, a survey shows.

The survey of 895 workers, conducted by Balance Recruitment last month, also found that 30 per cent of people in the IT and finance sectors had firsthand experiences of racism. It found that people from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and China were more likely to be victims of racist hiring practices.

Those who felt racism was a major issue came from a variety of backgrounds including Anglo-Saxon, African, subcontinental and south-east Asian origins. Eight per cent of respondents said they believed ethnic stereotyping was warranted.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/survey-shows-racism-20120122-1qc6v.html#ixzz1kFEB11Fp

Australia, he should take a look at his colleagues in Canberra and question why so little of this ‘genius’ has managed to find a seat on either side of government

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