THE recent spate of bashings of Indian students in Melbourne is an appalling episode in this nation's history. It is a serious social, educational, diplomatic and probably economic crisis that no one is taking seriously enough. The performance of John Brumby's Victorian Government has been pathetic. It has stumbled from bland denial to belated symbolism, never acknowledging the gravity of the problem or its own culpability and not taking any serious action to confront it.
The Rudd Government's response also has been belated, but there is a better sense in Canberra of the problem's dimensions.
It seems astonishing that you would have to argue with anybody that a big outbreak of racist violence in an Australian capital city is a first-order problem.
Last financial year nearly 1500 assaults and robberies were committed on people of Indian origin in Victoria, up by nearly one-third from the year before. But what has rightly gained international attention is the many assaults on Indian students.
Brumby and his Police Commissioner Simon Overland at first were inclined to deny the problem was racial at all. Eventually they came to admit that some attacks were racial, but still cling to the idiotic defence that most of the crimes are opportunistic, as if it's impossible to be opportunistic and racist.
In making these assertions, Brumby and co must be the only people who believe them. Certainly the victims of the crimes don't.
Brumby and his Government have conveyed a kind of insane, Sir Humphrey Appleby, genial imperturbability. You can imagine the Sir Humphrey response: "Yes, Mr Banerjee, we do acknowledge that you have been beaten to within an inch of your life and the Government finds that wholly regrettable. However we can assure you that the perpetrator, whose identity we do not know, had no racial animosity towards you. We would further remind you that you are lucky to live in the world's most livable city and we hope that next time you are bashed your response will bear this more fully in mind."
A young Indian-Australian friend of mine walked into a Melbourne garage and saw a young Indian attendant, a student working part time, being subjected to the most vile, scatological, racist abuse by a man of Caucasian background who was covered in tattoos and wearing long hair. When my young friend made the abuser aware of his presence the abuse stopped.
Too many Indian students report incidents such as this, ranging up to full-scale assault, for anyone seriously to deny the problem.
Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull made useful statements deploring the attacks. But, as usual, the greatest moral clarity came from Michael Danby, the federal Labor member for Melbourne Ports. He wasn't obliged to play the Sir Humphrey tricks and instead spoke straightforwardly: "These attacks are a disgrace to Australia. As an MP from Melbourne I am angry and ashamed that these things are happening in my city."
These bashings also have developed into a foreign policy crisis. This is because of the blanket, at times hysterical, coverage in the Indian media. But before we get too high and mighty condemning the Indian media, just imagine our response if dozens of Australian tourists had been racially selected for bashing in, say, Fiji or Malaysia. Just think of the talkback radio and tabloid reaction we would create.
These bashings have been reported all across the world. Al-Jazeera rang me this week to get the phone number of the Indian Students Federation. They have been widely reported in Britain. And in India the Australian Government could not have got a worse result if it had spent a billion dollars on a negative publicity campaign.
This column has always believed that racism is such a serious charge that it should be levelled very carefully and that a lot that is called racism is something else. But there is no doubt that Melbourne has witnessed serious, vicious, violent racism in recent months.
It is infinitely more important to deal with the problem than to try to deal with the perception. Solve the problem and the spin will look after itself. Similarly, there is nothing more lame than an Australian defence that points out that racism and policing problems exist in India, too.
This is not a point-scoring game. Further, however unjustified or out of date it is, Australia has throughout Asia a longstanding reputation for racism. We may chafe under the unfairness of this reputation, but if we want to deal with reality in Asia we have to understand that it is there. Stories that fit into this stereotype run very strongly.
There is little evidence that the Victorian Government has responded effectively. The Indians I have spoken to have noticed no increased police presence on Melbourne trains, with the exception of the Sydenham line. Certainly you can travel Melbourne's trains day and night for years and never see a police officer.
The Brumby Government seems to think announcements are a substitute for action. Remember all the fuss a year ago about the bashings of Melbourne taxi drivers? And the decisions on installing driver screens? Yesterday I walked along one of Melbourne's busiest taxi ranks and counted 18 cabs, not one with a driver screen.
This should be an elementary health and safety requirement.
Wretched Australian greed is in danger of killing our $15 billion education export industry.
At every point foreign students are mercilessly ripped off financially and given mediocre services at best. I would be hard-pressed in good conscience to recommend an Asian student come to an Australian university if they could afford an American one instead.
But of course our universities, at least the better ones, are not the heart of the problem. It is the vocational colleges run out of a couple of rooms in a city building that are the worst exploiters of foreign students.
Australia has done so well in attracting 400,000 students from Asia for several reasons, none of which has to do with the quality of the education. We are cheaper than the US or Britain, we are in a more sympathetic time zone and, until recently, we had the reputation for being safer. Most importantly, Australian higher education leads to a track for a permanent residency visa.
I've got no problem with that. It attracts a lot of students and gives us citizens down the track with Australian qualifications who can fill skills gaps and have long experience of Australia. But the system has become ramshackle and exploitative. We do not give value for money.
There's a lot we could do much better. How about a home visits scheme, where ordinary Australians invite foreign students for a weekend meal? After all, foreign students are not only dollars and cents, they're also human beings.
roll of a world without race 11:59pm June 07, 2009
the blue, green and yellow work hard and the bloody dole bludger enjoys the welfare and bashes and steals. no values, appaling family life, no education, so social framework...what can you expect? wel...you have the example of melbourne. what is going to be the future of aus? are the 'white' youth in any way or form preprared to compete with the education and skills of the importas? well ask yourself...and yea how man 'non-whites' do you see in police or politic? Have you got my point? this i culture of hypocricy...it will fall on its face...just like 'white' imperialism died all over the world...accept the fact...the rest have risen...all the racists know it...all they can do is be violent...but the universally the last laugh has always been of the exploited...
molks of Melbourne9:14pm June 07, 2009
Great article Greg and also (mainly) impressive are the long list of comments and suggestions that I have just read through. I particularly like the suggestion about a public awareness campaign akin to the "bloody idiot" drink-driving adverts. This is a great suggestion and I have walked over to the flat a few doors down to talk to three Indian lads who I normally just wave at and mentioned it to them - hopefully they will get it onto the grapevine and it can be used as a productive suggestion from those that are in the thick of it. I figure it's something that could have an effect on the population - but this would be long term and not a quick fix. The police officer who talked about statistics and the ethnicity of gangs that he/she believe are involved is a very interesting point also and there is definitely something in this that needs to be addresssed with urgency. I'm an anglo Aussie and I must admit to perhaps turning a bit of a blind eye to the racist tendencies around me. It really does seem to have gradually crept up over the last few years and my initial reaction was that this was all a storm in a teacup. On deeper reflection I realise that we have become complacent and have tacitly let this happen. I think the Howard years contributed to this and the immigration issue he championed has caused a general hardening of attitudes in society. We need to be more aware of all our own inadequacies and subtle influences with regard to racism and I'm frankly very grateful to the Indian students for getting us to take a good look at ourselves. We need to wake up and listen to what they're saying. This is not just a "media frenzy", it's a real and serious issue. I don't know that police can be re-tasked to train patrolling duty though - unfortunately they seem unable to cope with an apparent general increase in violence around the city anyway. However the general attitude needs to change and being made aware of it is a good start.
Bharat of St. Louis,USA 9:58am June 06, 2009
Students paying more ticket pricees on public transportation (compared to citizens) is unheard of in any part of the world. I travelled in europe and Asia and currently am living in USA. USA has zero tolerance for any hate crime.Iam not accusing of racism today,not sure if I may feel same way tomorrow.
adam of kingsland8:33am June 06, 2009
Australia has had a history of criminal racism, black-birding, shooting indigenous peoples, the lost generation etc. It isn't surprising that this heritage has carried through to the present day. Many Aussies in my experience are racist and I know this will upset some people but then just because you dont see it that way, doesn't mean it isn't there. Redfern, Cronulla, Palm Island and now Melbourne, Australia has a problem with racism.
Jim of OZ 4:54am June 06, 2009
So all 21 million Aussies are racists because a gang or 10 or 20 thugs in Melbourne is going around beating up Indian Students for their lap lops and ipods?
Aadarsh of India12:11am June 06, 2009
The racist appellation notwithstanding....i'm inclined to believe that most Australians (white and non-white) are just regular decent people going about their lives... but this is in response to tommy of melbourne ....when he alludes to the possibility that any indian student that has enrolled in a said course, miught just gain PR and bring a wife from 'back home'..... Well sir, what exactly is wrong with doign that!?..i fail to see any reason or logic that might suggest that its unreasonable behaviour....afterall, is the pursuit of one's happiness through lawful means, so bad? As far as integration goes, I daresay, most australians aren't really qualified to talk about that....its not like you guys had your ancestors come off those convict ships and just go about fraternising with the aborigines now, is it?...they went about ghettoising, discriminating, and pillaging the country and the delicate environment that they found....little understanding what they were doing. thats how human nature is....you tend to stick with your own, unless something extraordinary happens....and thats fine, as long as you just treat the 'others' with the dignity and respect that is their due, by the virtue of them being decent law abiding human beings. You dont have to love and adore people of other races...but theres no real reason to hate either, is there?
Muthu of India 8:28pm June 05, 2009
The Australian people have always been a generous lot. It is a land of opportunities. Indians have no prima facie in calling Australians racists. Hate crimes are a day to day affair in India. You cannot relocate from one state to another in India. They come to Australia on a student visa and later beg for permanent visa. They are like virus that multiply and degrade the visa.
Doug LESTER of Gympie 5:43pm June 05, 2009
Greg, what a load of P.C. rubbish. Of course we have racist Australians, and I have personally met racists of just about every nationality in the world. The trick is to lower the bar as to what constitutes a racist act.One of your readers has equated it to being ignored in a shop, well I suffer that indignity on every second week and I'm white as. The claim that" AUSTRALIANS ARE RACIST" based on the activities of an unknown number of muggers in Melbourne is like my claiming that no New South Welshmen can play rugby league based on the efforts of the 17 players on Wednesday night. As to the perceived lack of Police effort in apprehending the offenders, that could well be traced to the pathetic sentences handed out by all levels of the judiciary in Australia. Today in Brisbane an American male got 12 months in the caboose for killing his wife of 11 days. Just imagine what he'd have got for stealing a mobile phone.Hardly worth venturing outside the police station and risking being labelled a racist for that, I'd think.
vihang of canberra4:54pm June 05, 2009
The attacks may not be resist. But it is clear that law and order in Melbourne is deteriorating. what is bad if some one shouts for racism but ultimately demands public safety. Police should get out of cars and keep their eyes open in the nights. situation will automatically improve. I am an Indian and an international student. I would say native Australians are quite generous. however,racial attitude of some Australians can not be ruled out. It is there and has to be removed.
dmadan of New Zealand 3:18pm June 05, 2009
Hi Navi, I disagree with you. I think you have not read world history. You look like who Just wants to make comments without knowledge. If you say "Indians come here", Hold on Every body in Australia is migrant in one or the other generations. Now I ask who gave you right to do recism in Australia because castism exist in India. You are new here so as Indians.May be few generations difference. The war of recism is started by your Cricketers when Harbhajan and Andrew were aknowledging each others mothers in their languages. You tried to take advantage of the situation. Please read the world History and you will find all the ancient countries have caste system in place. In India this is finishing and people are comming out of it. But this does not give you any right to start racism here in other form.
Gaurav Bansal of New Delhi, India 1:23pm June 05, 2009
Well I agree with Mr. Sheridan on this issue. Australia until recently was held in great respect in terms of educational and employment opportunities for Asian students. People had an illusion of it being a land `free from terror¿ (unlike U.K. and United States). People felt safer moving to Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra rather than New York, Chicago, and London. The love for cricket, music, and Fosters beer from Mumbai, Goa, and New Delhi were reciprocated in equal measure by the Australian community. However, somehow this dream has turned SOUR. People are now skeptical of even going for a leisure-trip to Australia, forget a longer stay. The nice looking cheerful Australian now appears tarnished with a racist appearance. But where all this malice is coming from? Why so much of hatred? Where is the source of all this extreme abhorrence? Why can¿t we be a little more tolerant and live in harmony? Why can¿t the Government agencies do something concrete about this? Why can¿t we have more awareness about the barbarism of racism? We enjoy watching Steve Waugh in Kolkata as they do in New South Wales. People in Sydney love Sachin Tendulkar as they do in Mumbai. So where is the discord? Let¿s give some thought to it folks, Please Think! God Bless All!
Maverick of sydney11:16am June 05, 2009
Do Indians pay their taxes...yes....do indians here live on dole..no....do indians form their gang and committ crime...no...then its their right to ask for protection and cease of racism towards them..
Maverick of sydney10:51am June 05, 2009
well written article.Agree with it.This might or might not be happening to other communities but atleast good on indians to stand up and raise voice against it...
not-racist of sydney10:23am June 05, 2009
It is outrageous that Australia is being branded as a racist country because of ignorant articles such as this. The attacks on Indians are not racist. The Indians are soft targets because they don't retaliate in gangs or groups. Their attackers know that if they bash & rob someone from any other ethnic group they will have a group/gang of them coming after them but if they bash & rob an Indian there won't be any gang or group looking for them seeking retribution.
Yolanda in California of California 8:23am June 05, 2009
I am American, I also happen to be black. When I toured Australia in 2003 for a vacation I received quite a cold shoulder. It seems as if there is a problem in your country which needs to be accounted for because it's not only against Indians.
Abhishek of India1:26am June 05, 2009
I am from India and I was trying to reach out for reaction in Australian media. Frankly I haven¿t read the article completely but what really interests me is comments on it. Its really good to see not only that common people are condemning what happened but also believe that racism is such a evil which can divide entire nation. Being in India and going through all what Indian media is showing my understanding says Australia is not racist country but skin color does matter. And everyone is conscious at least now to make effort to resolve that. My personal take is what happened to students over there is not racist act and due to some black sheep in the heard we should not blame everyone. It will be unfair to call everyone in Australia as racist. I think law enforcement has failed in this case and to dissolve the situation perpetrator has to be caught first. They are only one who can speak out whether this was done opportunistic or racist. Other than that I have seen some comments which states that why Indians are complaining when even we are suffering from caste issues in India. And my reply to that is we acknowledge that we had and have caste issues but from government till social active group everyone is try to bridge that divide. We have reservations for lower caste so that they can come up and I am pretty sure we will resolve this issue sooner or later. Most important thing to resolve the problem is is to acknowledge it and I can see people in Australia have started doing that which is substantial move. Adding to current situation let me try throw some light on some distant future. We are living in globalized world and with every day all developed and developing economies are becoming tightly coupled. India was 4th largest growing economy in 2008 and will be at same position for this year. It will be 3rd largest economy by 2035 and 2nd largest by 2050. All the BRIC nation will play most important role in shaping up future of the world economy. In future most of developed countries nationals eventually will has to visit to currently developing counties. Now think of it would anyone like racist or alien behavior for foreigners. I don¿t think so. So it¿s most important for everyone to act against discrimination of any form race, caste, religion anything. Else we are going to suffocate in fumes of our own hatred.
Chitra of India 12:44am June 05, 2009
Greg, a very well written article. I lived in Melbourne for two years and though I did not have to face any 'racist attack', I must say that there are small things like maybe an action or a sentence with racist overtones that I have had to face. That said, I should also say that my experience in Oz was great, meaning you cannot label the entire country racist just because of a few racist elements bent on making life hell for Indians there. I do hope though that the authorities in Vic plan on taking some effective measures to counter these attacks.
jay of india 12:43am June 05, 2009
Indians are as it is so scared of goras and firangis in a foreign land. They should show on tv sometimes what happens when a foreign student is about to fly from his country. His mother is crying, his father is motivating the kid, his friends are jumping with joy, and he is the VIP out there. Someone even suggested in the very comments that what was the need for Australia to have been multicultural? God this is the attitude here. Is it really getting on their nerves to be a part of globalisation or they just still cant the see black skin sitting with them, it should only be in their feet so that they can kick it (no more subtly) all the time.... Australia is a great country but with difficult people around for colored people. Absorbing the Australian Culture shock is not as easy as absorbing the american/kiwi/canadian/british culture shock for a fact. There is a sense of natural superiority and look down upon approach on most Indians with a tinge of rudeness, scolding attitude or mockery. Whether it is talking to a shopkeeper or taking a room in a motel, Indians particularly are taken like 'oh common, either get in or get away!', it starts like this. Its impossible for most to take us on an equal footing. Attitude of assistance or help is a far fetched idea. The toleration limit of these people becomes zero the moment they see Indians. A spark of anger is flickered at the sight of Indians and then the poor Indians are at the receiving end. In the western world of personality, Indians look short, dark, unkempt infront of tall,strong bright whites, so how would the equallness arise knowwwww? Then Indians have gone to Australia, Australians have not come to India hence we are on the receiving end. Poor Indians laugh on any australian's joke (irrespective of how funny it is) for 5 more minutes, they shake hands like nobody's business, they bend down and are extremely interested in being friends with them. I checked in a reputable motel in gold coast (the islander), there the white bloke talked to me like I dont even talk to my servant,I was shocked. I went to take a ticket, that young girl was like she just didnt want to give me a ticket and purposely started talking fast. I asked one policeman a question and it was like it was paining him to give me a reply. He was so inanimate and sombre and then he didnt want to hear me anymore. Why is it that they see an Asian and their jaws are dropped in unhappiness. Why are Indians such an unhappy and sick sight out here ? Such incidents keep on happening in Australia with Indians. Indians have no life in Australia, they are good for menial jobs out there. Even if you have money, you are treated like the lowest class out there OFTEN...but the kiwis are entirely different than Aussies. They are so polite, soft spoken and a bit friendlier than Aussies. I remember I lost my way in Auckland and asked a gentleman. He was about to board the taxi but he asked to taxi driver to leave and explained me the path for 5 minutes and then waited for the next taxi. Such incidents keep on happening here in New zealand with Indians too. Australia and NZ are so close yet most people are so different. This will never go from Australia only the Indians will have to go from here. The Australian government should run an advertisement of how to treat international students (with a bit of help and affection) and how badly Australia needs young labor for its own good....but who would do all this anyways???
sunil dahiya of melbourne 12:27am June 05, 2009
ONLY POOR AND WEAK GET ABUSED. well everyone personal views and i would like to share my view here. i come from india and i have been here for 5 odd years. I was attacked 4 years back on a bridge close to flinders street station. i reported it to police station and i was not surprised to see 4 other indian guys reporting same complain, all attacked at same place. one of my friend rand and informed me that thugs were still at same location. I did notify this to cops but one of them said to me "hey mate we know what to do." But i was never scared to go out in city but now after so much hype i am scared. AND every one lets not be surprised about racism in australia or any other country. It has always been and will be in society. But my feeling is racism is only for poor people, if i was super rich or super strong, do u all feel i would be abused at all????
Shekhar Prasad12:13am June 05, 2009
As Greg mentioned: foreign students are not only dollars and cents, they're also human beings. This event has shaken the individuals and students, who are looking australia as their future destination. We are not blaming to certain individuals or county. we are taking about how much a spark can be destructive.We have to take a firm decision and putting it very clearly and loudly to the society that each individual is free to live his life and each one of us should respect and accept identity of individual.Not australian Government but also governments of other nations has to take serious actions about safety of students, migrants and tourists.
Not Anglo of Melbourne 11:51pm June 04, 2009
Looks like there are a few issues here: 1) Not every Indian bashing is racially motivated as anglos get bashed too, and by ethnic gangs 2) Widespread Racism does exist in Australia, although much of it could be at an unconscious level e.g. the mentioning of the ethnic background of criminals etc, or the assumption that everyone who does not look Anglo must be a migrant, even if their family goes back generations to the Gold Rush days I think that greater effort must be made by our leaders to combat this racism & to nip it in the bud, as seemingly harmless racist attitudes & behaviour have potential to become dangerous & out of control,much like a small harmless spark in Winter becoming a total disaster in dry Summer conditions - witness what happened to the long simmering racism of Jews in Europe in Pre WW2 Europe.When the Great Depression happened, (i.e the Dry conditions) people started looking for scapegoats to blame. The terrible & unimaginable Nazi "Final Solution" being the ultimate act of racism against the Jews. Someone earlier mentioned that solutions were not forthcoming from the media & government. Racism is so deeply ingrained in Australian culture that, unfortunately, there is no quick fix solution, aside from having more police or even some kind of "Neighbourhood Watch"scheme on our trains. In the medium to long run, Government shld undertake Public Awareness campaigns to educate the public on what's not acceptable behaviour, and education in our schools on this subject. This has strong parallels to the "Bloody Idiot"& änti-Smoking"campaigns where the deeply ingrained cultures of Drink Driving & Smoking have finally brought about attitude change after many years of constant public education on these issues in the Media. I have lived in this great country for 20 years, and still think this is one of the best counties in the world, and have met & made many Anglo & non Anglo friends throughout the years, and wholeheartedly believe the majority are NOT racist, and that many Anglos are disgusted with the racism that does exist casually or otherwise in their workplaces & elsewhere. What a Public Awareness campaign such as the "Bloody Idiot" one does is to make it loud & clear that Racism in ALL its forms is NOT ACCEPTABLE,nor harmless, and this will encourage the good people of Australia to speak out against Racist Attitudes & behaviour. I believe many people do not agree with the racist attitude of many of their friends & neighbours but do not speak out against it for fear of social exclusion, or feel that they are in the minority For was it not said that EVIL FLOURISHES WHERE GOOD PEOPLE REMAIN SILENT"?, or words to that effect? And widespead Public Education campaigns will also have the enormous benefit of educating impressionable children - the leaders of tomorrow - as to what is or is not acceptable behaviour. How many times have children "told off" their parents for not doing the right thing after watching something on TV? Then the parents "catch" themselves & realise that, Yes, the children were indeed correct. It's true that we learn about ourselves through our children. Children will always catch us out if we are being hypocrites. As an example,I remember a friend telling me how his toddlers refused to ride in their car without putting on seatbelts after watching the Seatbelt Public Sevice ads on TV many years ago. So, there IS a solution to the problem of Racism in Australia. It just remains to be seen if our elected leaders deem it important enough to do something about it. Maybe now that our billion dollar education sector is at risk the political will to do something will be forthcoming.
Mandeep Brar of Adelaide 11:37pm June 04, 2009
Australian universities are filled with foreign students. Australia needs everykind of foreign manpower except policemen and defense personnel. In South Australia the govt. wishes to recruit around 4,000 policemen. And it has made requests to U.K for hiring their citizens. I have found that police in Australia is not much democratically recruited. I have even seen little ponies in the police uniform. The govt. is acting like the British in India. The Britishers never hired Indian officers only Indian soldiers. It seems that old habits die hard. That is why the government is insensitive to the problem. What I am saying is that racism exists here. And that is evident from the police personnel and policing being done. If Australia wants to be a great nation then it should try to emulate the American example. My brother is an Australian citizen and he has been to USA and Canada recently. He has found that racism do exist in Canada and Australia, but it is negligible in USA. He was as comfortable there while in India. The problem is with the countries governed by the Queen. My personal experience is that it is easy to get along with Europeans in Australia as compared to Aussies. The reasons are evident and every body is aware about them. If the government cannot check racism then it should change its immigration and education policy.Nobody wishes to stay at a place where he is not respected or wanted.
taipan 10:56pm June 04, 2009
We allow as many Indian students to study in Melbourne as we can fit in but do nothing to monitor their welfare. It is a money issue. The Victorian taypayers are quite happy to take the money from these Indian students, but will not pay for extra security for them - extra security means higher taxes. Melbourne has always been a dangerous place late at night and is now more so, especially near railway stations.
pandit of pune india10:55pm June 04, 2009
I agree with his views in totality. I have just come back from New Zealand last week and I saw how nice the people were. Australia must take a leaf out of their books. This time our government is going to hit back quite viciously, that I guranteee. The common man here is really itching to hit back at any Australian they can find here in India. Australians must understand that you hurt one Indian anymore, you will have atleast 100 Aussies suffering. The episode on Bhajji and Symonds was just the beginning. We destroyed your cricket teams confidence no end. We are a peace loving country, but will take no shit from any Aussie anymore.
jenny of australia10:52pm June 04, 2009
Having worked in India presents different culturally perspectives. For example if an Indian student was accosted to hand something over in Australia they may shake their heads left to right as meaning "yes" but in Australia this means "no". This will put them at risk.
cynic 10:50pm June 04, 2009
definitely, violence against any person is not to be condonedand i hope that the courts deal with the offenders within the pqrameteters of the justice system and not become some sort of beat up to assuage the indian gov. living on the sydenham line i can say that travel outside of peak travel times is out of the quetion for ones personal safety(regardless of race).Also,as an objective observer there was nothing too Ghandian about the students domonst4ration at Flinders St. on the weekend.At the inevitable risk of being labelled rascist i have to ask whether the Gov. should still be allowing immigration at the present rate given that there is a less than 1% rental availability, rental affordability is at an all time low, homelessness is rampant and growing, we have insufficient infrastructure to support a rapidly growing population, our water supply is at crisis levels, hospital and medical services are overburdened etc.etc.Oor gvernment is terribly concerned about the Indian Student dollar and of course, we have to appease our investors who would be teribly wrankled that a decreas in foreign students might lead to a letting up of the current high rental rort. Go ahead, say it!
Abdul of Melbourne10:44pm June 04, 2009
Australia and Australians are not racist, PERIOD. There is in every society some 'hedge-hogs' with dubious inclines but that shouldn't make the whole of that society or country look the same. I am of Indian decent and I've lived in this country for over 25 years and I've never had any complaints against any Aussie as a matter of fact. It is the Indian students who need to know how to protect themselves and not avail themselves as soft-targets in the middle of the night for the pickings. They need to understand that the Police can not be everywhere at any given time. They need to look after themselves and stop seeking others to look after them all the time. This is a different country and things are done differently from what they are used to in their own country. Sometimes you have to stand on your own here and not count on others to bail you out all the time. Stand-up and take measures to protect yourselves and stop blaming Australians and Australia, please.
Kowlasar Misir of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 10:32pm June 04, 2009
This is one of the firsts in this episode: calling the situation in Australia what it is; thank you Greg. I applaud you on calling the government and police bluff....sitting in Edmonton and reading the news and the defences being mounted, I wondered at the new levels of "pathetic" that will be reached. Is it a wonder that the bashings continued. I have lived the foreign student life and I cannot imagine this happening in North America (I am not saying that it is all perfect here). What is even more revealing, however, is the comments on the various Australian blogs. I am appalled at the inane chatter and the ludicrous comments that is being made...if the population makes such racist comments, how can anyone expect a proper reaction from the authorities, which are made up of a subset of the general population. Finally, the Australian media was culpable....their coverage was dismal. Only when this event became world news, thanks to the Indian media, did they decide to give it some attention.
Mack 9:58pm June 04, 2009
"On this point, some Australians suspect that the 300,000 or so foreign students (mostly of Asian extraction) are using an Australian education simply to acquire permanent residency" Bingo! Happening in every Western nation on the Globe...Just looking for a quick ticket to citizenship. There is no such thing as "temporary" worker, student etcetera....
Nithss of Phoenix9:57pm June 04, 2009
Well said Greg. Racism is a monster. I always thought that Australia is a place where there is lots of equality amonst people. May be some group in there doesnt believe so.
Mack 9:55pm June 04, 2009
kmcombine of Sydney NSW Complete rubbish....Cultures don't need growth in the numbers Australia is pushing....It is simply a way to keep idiots like yourself pushing this fallacy so government doesn't have to make any hard choices. Keep the tax base growing and there is more for the picking....How did we ever survive with fractions of the growth and populations of past? Use your brain and stop blindly regurgitating everything you read....You must be getting close to retirement.....LOL.....
Abhi of India 9:28pm June 04, 2009
Dear friends, I did my education from Australia in late 90's and have been visitng Oz since. Let me tell you it has changed. It's no more a country of saying good day mate if you see someone or saying isn't it a beautiful day! Having said there are still a lot positives and promises this country holds. Let's not forget except for the abroginals all are immigratns, first were the whites to settle, followed by asians, etc. Dare I say all have done well for themselves thanks to this country. There would always be people in all the other countries who are aggressive, racist and closed and hence I say Australia in not racist. All that is required are tougher laws for racism and a bit of understanding on each side to know each other better in terms of culture. Australia is a multi cultural socitey and if it's done well, as country is because of the same reason!
karl of melbourne of Melbourne 8:16pm June 04, 2009
Spot on Danaldo (comment @ 4.24pm), it was easy for the Howard government to play the xenophobia card to win votes and indirectly encourage anti immigration elements of our society; while at the same time having full fee paying overseas students coming to Australia. The Libs. must have thought that they were on to the Magic Pudding. Unfortunately, we all are now reaping the consequences of that lack of leadership. This however, does not excuse Mr Brumby for being in denial and slow to react to the situation.
jenny of australia7:57pm June 04, 2009
I did some further investigations and if the crime rate for robbery and assault in Victoria was applied to the indian student population then it would be expected that around 343 person could be a victim of these crimes/year. This is more about street crime not racism. Indian students are in the high risk age group. The vilification of Australians is disgusting
ph of Melbourne7:52pm June 04, 2009
While there is certainly a racist element to many of these attacks there has also been an escalation in street violence generally. Stabbings have become routine as have glassings and gang bashings. The victoria police are lazy, dopey and hopeless, and the Brumby governement is asleep at the wheel. The public transport operators do not take responsibility for the safety of their passengers, but are quick to fine you for minor infractions. The judiciary is not responding to this as a crisis, but seem to think it is business as usual. Melbourne has gone from being a very safe place to a dangerous place in a matter of a few years. It will take the death of a judges or politicians son or daughter in one of these attacks before these halfwits wake up. The way things are now, we may not have to wait very long for that.
xenophobe of China7:37pm June 04, 2009
"Australia has done so well in attracting 400,000 students from Asia for several reasons, none of which has to do with the quality of the education. ....... Most importantly, Australian higher education leads to a track for a permanent residency visa." What is good about attracting another 400,000 aliens into this home? Its just another industry which allows politicians, pressure groups, businesses, colleges & would-be immigrants to short-cut migration to this country without any reference to whether or not Australians want 400,000 coming through their front door. This "self-annointed elite" usurps the sovereignty of Australians giving them no say in who their future countrymen are to be - exactly in the same way as previous Australian governments usurped aboriginal sovereignty.
Frangipanni of Canberra 7:28pm June 04, 2009
Of Indian background and of Indian appearance, I have lived in Australia for nearly forty years and have NEVER experienced discrimination at the hands of Australians. Given the levels of discrimination in India based on race, colour, caste and religion,perhaps Indian students might like to consider how they might address the enormous discrimination experienced by their fellow Indians. Or is discrimination in India something non Indians must simply accept as a part of Indian culture? The attacks in Australia have resulted from a mix of naivete, taking one's security for granted and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I'd also bet my bottom dollar that a disproportionate number of the attackers are NON WHITE Australians. So why don't we have some honest analysis of these issues without making this into a phony black versus white situation as it is being portrayed around the world, which will not resolve the underlying issues that are causing these problems including ethnic gang based violence?
Davo of Victoria7:26pm June 04, 2009
Read the Times of India reports, they are the most flagrant mob language you can imagine. Who will bring these journalist to book for their distortions and ommissions? There is a core group among the Indians who seem to want to play the vicitm. They experience racism from lower orders in society, but to accuse the whole country is a bit rich. These Indians are in many cases ripping the country off working cash in hand. I met a bank employee who tries to trace Indians who take out loans and skip the country. A company trainer said 40% of the documents they bring into the country are forged. The rudeness of some of them has to be seen to be believed. Like the women who tell me Indian cab drivers only want money and won't help them get home at night for short trips, or if they do they are treated in a demeaning manner. Living in cheap areas probably exposes the Indians to problems, but they would be better off if they didn't polarize against the rest of society. If anything we probably need to bring back corporal punishment of the young as this group is out of control, the majority are great kids but the bad ones know nobody can touch them. I think India and Australia should develop relations further but let us not be played for fools by these guys.
Sumit Howell of Frankfurt 7:25pm June 04, 2009
Greg ¿ Australians (and not Indians) and the world will one day be grateful to you that you have brought this issue open for public debate. Australia is currently going through the 2nd stage of racism. Racism exists in a society in 3 stages. The first is when it is not even recognized that racism exists. I have faced subtle racism in many European countries where people/shopkeepers/police ignore you. But, it can not be reported because the police, judiciary or media of the country all believe that it is ¿normal¿ for outside people to be treated differently and they themselves having been doing so. Second stage is when it is recognized that racism DOES exist. That¿s the debate which is happening in Australia right now. Unless it is discussed and debated, no policies/actions would be taken against it. But beware, the privileged ones will never want to believe it and would never want to give away their ¿right¿ of treating other people ¿differently¿ because it does give an emotional satisfaction of having done so ¿ compare it with a boss scolding a junior when he is in a bad mood. Third stage is when there are laws against it. Like in the United States of America. I am not saying that racism does not exist there at all. But, it would be controlled and both the people (whites/non whites/or whatever race you call it) know the consequences. Of course, we are far away from a world where racism does not exist in the hearts at all. If and when that day comes, then we will not need any laws at all.
Dido of Melbourne7:08pm June 04, 2009
As it was written during the protest racism is more dangerous than swine-flu.The government must act on security about public transport.This is true that you can spent years without seeing police officer on the train,this have to change especially on the sensitive area.
Jit of Hassall Grove6:44pm June 04, 2009
This subject has got a large element of truth in it, and its is shown here too in Sydney, when one tells the authorities they just brush the subject away and ignore you, its a real shame as we have shown the world that not to come here, or buy our products, so what is the state of our nation when it comes to this? when people overseas see's us as racist, and violence not stopped by the law. Have we become a racist socity? I say the full force of the law should set to bear and stop this once and for all, before we get a bad name in the international eyes.
Tracy of Brisbane6:28pm June 04, 2009
So, is it racism if a Chinese Australian hates all the Australian Indians or the Australian Koreans hate all the Australian Japanese? Was my Nanna being racist when she unashamably spoke of her dislike for my German sister-in-law and all of her countrymen? Or do you have to be a "white" Australian with a hatred of people with a different skin colour to be racist? Do you have to be a blue-eyed blonde to be "white"? Or is it anyone who speaks native English? And what's the laymans definition of Australian - is it someone who was born here; holds an Australian passport; identifies as being Australian or simply people of Anglo Saxon/Celt background? I was recently shocked when told by a Peruvian friend living here that all "Aussie" girls are sluts, when I asked if that includes me, the answer was "No, you're not Australian, you're Maltese!", no amount of protesting could persuade my friend otherwise. So, in this whole race debate, I'd like to know what defines someone as a "Racist Australian"?
Ex Cop who is not fooled of Melbourne6:26pm June 04, 2009
It is very ironic, almost funny, to see the Vic Gov and Vic Police policy of hiding ethnic crime has come back to bite them - BIG TIME! The truth is, up to 1/3 of all offenders do not have their race or country of origin accurately recorded. I worked with these stats for a decade, and I know what I'm talking about. The bosses play dumb, but it suits them to have a dysfunctional stats system - makes the job of decieving the public about the dangers, much easier. Police bosses - at executive command level - think the public can't handle the truth - they would panic - thats why Neighbour hood watch doesn't get told about sex offences anymore... Thus all academic "research" on these issues is garbage, based on silly numbers with no relation to the real world. Nonetheless, Strategic Intelligence Reports (Hidden from most of the Gov and public) have long identified a few ethnic crime cultures, and the gangs they spawn as a severe and growing problem - particularly for robberies / stabbings / group bashings - oh and some less visible nasties - drugs, sex industry and high level corruption. It's a cultural thing, but admitting this is too PC incorrect, and no one in power has the courage to talk the tough truth. We still fail to guard the door, so it should be no surprise we have a constantly growing number of psychopathic criminals and jihadi scum running loose in Victoria. They hide amongst the majority of law abiding migrants - and often prey on their own, more than the rest of us. What's really sad is that our gutless spin doctor pollies have chose to toungue somewhere nasty - hoping to appease the rage of the foriegn victims, but continue to lie / hide / ignore the ethnic crime gang problems. It's pretty clear the Labour Gov's can't tell the truth about these issues, and don't really care about the rest of Australia - whom they ideologically identify as "Redneck white trash".
Russell Bonney6:25pm June 04, 2009
The public should be informed as to who is doing these criminal acts against Indian students. Is it white Australians or other ethnic groups? Is it those with a drug habit. Is it just to steal? Or perhaps it is religiously based? Australians treat each other, in the main, beautifully, including those of other ethnic backgrounds, unless they become actively violent or anti law. Indians are lovely people. However, in their own country, often Hindus and Moslems are fighting against each other to the extent of killing when the newspapers publish dead bodies that all can see. Curfews sometimes occur in different cities. Then again, different castes will be fighting each over because one caste dared to use a well or a temple belonging to the higher caste. Hundreds of millions of Indians live in abject poverty without compassion from the majority of the remainder. Those many poor do not get the chance to come to Australia for an education. The ones who do come, even if their relatives may work hard and save for it to happen, are from the better off families. Australia is not racist in that it hates other races. Different castes, however, do bear hatred. I have known, for example of a low caste mother-in-law speaking against her higher caste daughters-in-law. That is part of the Indian way of life. Generally, the rich and upper ones despise the others and do not lift a hand to help those teeming millions. Therefore, because as people, who are not tame and non-aggressive but who will not take kindly to abuse, we should realise they will take action as has been proved of late. Really, Indians like Australians and we like them. We share a love of cricket and of similar humour. We have a common bond of intelligence. At this time, please, India, cool down because we Aussies really like you all. We take you as you are and hope you accept us as we are in reality. As for those who are attacking Indian students, whether they be whites, ethnics or religious, let the full arm of the Law deal with them.
Jay DT of Thornbury, Vic6:22pm June 04, 2009
I agree with Mr Sheridan that these attacks against Indian students are racist. And I'm wondering what sort of reaction this simple fact will get from the many readers who wrote into 'The Australian' saying the attacks WEREN'T racist. On the other hand, perhaps Sheridan is trying (partly) to placate these readers by saying that the Indian press' reaction to the attacks is "hysterical". What is "hysterical" about shining a spotlight on these crimes? Why lie to its citizens that Australia is the land of the good and plenty for all?
Um of OZ 6:20pm June 04, 2009
Hi everyone... I want to send some information to GREG(The Australian) regarding another issue of racial bashing and the poor international student is the hospital in emergency...The guy came here with big dreams his parents took out loan sell their lands to send their son for higher education...The life of the young guy is gone and he is not able to do anything...I feel ashamed to say that when ever you go to police nothing is get done and your precious time being wasted...It's really heart wrenching that he was a loved one of someone.I have just came from my home country and certainly felt the attitude is very different if u r not white skin, i am not saying Aus is a racist country but the FACT is skin difference does prevail...
Steven Majewski of North Perth 6:18pm June 04, 2009
Jenna from Geelong I think the issue of racism should be put on the backburner because it has come to the point of hysteria. You can murder, bash, rob someone but don't you dare be racist. It is an issue that seems to have reared its head only when those of a non white appearance started coming to this country. Previous generations from Europe that came to this country suffered the same racism but there is never any mention of this, why because they were white. In your opinion I might be lower than a snakes belly but I will continue to express whatever opinion I like regardless of people like you who walk around with your head fair up your backside and always jump to the defence of the non whites only regardless of what they do.
Greg of Melbourne6:01pm June 04, 2009
I agree with DM of Melbourne: While some of these attacks may well be racially motivated, we haven't heard any evidence to support Sheridan's blanket assertions. What proportion of total violent attacks do those on Indians represent, and how do the growing number of attacks compare with the huge growth in student numbers and their particular vulnerabilities; a heavy reliance on part-time night jobs, public transport and cheap rental accommodation in more dangerous suburban locales? And why, when we have more east Asian students in Melbourne than south Asian, is it the generally less affluent Indian students who are the supposed targets of racist attacks? Should we conclude that racist thugs are discriminating between different types of Asian or the more probable alternative - that Indian students, are more vulnerable due to their demographic, not their race?
kmcombine of Sydney NSW 5:47pm June 04, 2009
Greg Sheridan's opinion piece is timely, informed and balanced. The long term implications of aging Australians are a VITALLY important factor which he and other contributors to the debate persist in ignoring. The aging of population is a phenomenon affecting every industrial economy to a greater or less degree. Even though the aging of India¿s population has belatedly and incipiently started, it will not become a national concern in that country until about 2050. In the meantime, Australia will be competing with countries in the European Union, China (thanks to its infamous one-child policy) and Japan for skilled professional and skilled labour to replenish their national workforces. India, Bangladesh and Nepal are the only countries in the world with populations capable of sustaining a stable supply of workers to Australia¿s economy and those of its competitors. For some decades yet, Canada and the United States will continue outpace Australia in the global competition for skilled and unskilled emigrants from South and Central American countries. The Hispanic contribution to North America¿s labour replenishment has become known to global demographers as the `Latino Lift¿. Perspicacious Australians realize the longer-term horrendous social and economic damage that unprovoked attacks on Indian and other students from the subcontinent can create for their country¿s economic future. The `round table¿ conferences occurring at State and Federal level to contain and hopefully reverse this damage, though belated, are an appropriate response. More needs to be done to attune aging Australians as what their quality of life and standard of living might be if those students chose not to immigrate here.
Vidya 5:37pm June 04, 2009
I agree with ur article completely Greg but I have a problem with some of the comments that seem to say, u have a problem in ur country, dont come and advice us.Well yeah we have the issue of casteism but atleast we are working on it though I am against the means at which they are addressing the issue of the low caste people.By the way there was a comment which said minority people are not well taken care of in India. Do you know anything about India? You know what most of the policies and politicians support the people from the minority groups esp Muslims and Christians.Thats why you see everyone from media to politicians bashing the right wing party because they mainly support Hindus. There are one or two incidents and all the foreign media make a big thing out of it.Its just like what has happened now. Racism actually is not prevalent in australia to the extent the Indian media has portrayed but it does exist. The students who come here pay hefty fees and I know personally people who have mortgaged their house to send their students for higher studies. Obviously they do need security.Also you pride urself in being a OECD country, isnt providing security one of the basic thing that you provide to the people who are in this country?
Khadeland of Sydney5:26pm June 04, 2009
Australia being racist and the attacks on Indian students are two different subjects. It is to be noted that the Indian students got robbed or mugged after they got attacked, this does not indicate 'racism', it merely shows the thugs as being opportunistic. This has to be handled as any other crime, as any other robbery or mugging. If the police do not act without a valid reason, like Rod L of Melbourne 4:41pm today, suggests then the cops should wear the 'racism' cap. It is they who ultimately need to own up to the rise in crime and showing a blind-eye to reports of crime made by a non-white person. I can cite an example here, this happened close to where I live where a migrant from Sri Lanka got bashed. he was admitted to the hospital an all but the cops never arrived when someone called the emergency number. Why not? To substantiate my belief that Australia is racist I list the below points. 1. No non-white actors on TV on any of the Australian programs 2. The likes of Backyard Blitz TV programs never feature a house of a non-white being fixed 3. No non-white gets selected to the regional cricket teams except Khwaja for NSW Blues who is an exception. NZ, England and all have coloured players in their team. 4. Only whites are affected by calamities and need fund-raising, never it is a Vietnamese, or an Aboriginee, etc. 5. If you watch Oz TV you realise there are hardly any non-whites 6. The celebration of the Chk Chk Boom girl to celebrity status despite racist remarks and she never gets punished despute crying wolf! There are umpteen more reasons to classify Australia, parts of its government and media as racist. The sooner this accepted we can look to a solution as there is no point having heads in sand. I have not even quoted the past as those atrocities were by a different generation, there was no internet so news could be controlled but not these days where even Fritzl wass famous all over the world in no time.
dinsor 4:52pm June 04, 2009
Hey Aussies true blue. It is true that when a non white person is bashed it is racism: Rubbish rubbish. When a White person is bashed it is a Nuisance and no news at all. However there is an underlying problem with our youth in that they believe the Aust Governments have a poor immigration policy including so called Refugees. Indian Students possibly too many per year are taking many part time jobs from our youth. Our Aussie youth have been let down educationally by our inept Education State Systems poor teacher standards over many years of neglect. Problem now is Indian students whom study in AUSSIE are clever, and quick to learn and not frightened of hard work. This scares our uneducated youth and some lazy Aussie young. Victoria is a melting pot of multiracial people and remember that some of these are now third generation Aussies but have the hatred instilled by their parents towards certain groups within their Clans, tribes and groups. Violence in Victoria especially Melb where white Aussies are a minority will grow. Sydney Western Suburbs and Inala in Brisbane the same. STOP Racist bashing by the Press and things may cool down a little but it will not go away. Remember the Melb Tennis incident. Our home grown Ethnics at work.
Curmudgeon of High Dudgeon of perth4:48pm June 04, 2009
Dont often agree with Greg but we are singimg off the same page on this one. I dont know how racially motivated all these attacks were,but Asians are regular opportunistic targets as they are smaller and don't come from a warrior nackground. Body langusge is a big determinant in victim selection by a predator. Human body langauge is basically ubiquitous but the exception is the subcontinent which has a different subset of body language. This may be a factor in the selection of Indians as a target.
Rod L of Melbourne4:41pm June 04, 2009
Thanks for article Greg. The Victorian government,the police and we as a community, which you also allude to, are not at all taking this ugly aspectseriously, one that has been emerging in too many pockets of Australian cities and less obviously away from the cities. One writer points out many of the attacks are by a number people with African or Asian origin. This makes it a minefield for any definitive statement about where to lay blame and from whom and where this problem is emerging. Is it all in the major sense, a immigration related problem, a problem of our multi-cultural society that we so sweetly paint at times. Where do the so-called Anglo-Saxon, Indigenous, European and Middle Eastern peoples both receive and contribute to this problem? Some of the worst overt hatred of other races within my country that I have seen has been from those who you would have thought, having experienced in their immigration history, would be more compassionate to those that are from a different culture. All I am saying is do not let the Anglo-Saxons stand alone here, lets see the wider dimensions of this incipient racism more strongly. As you say, take this bloody ugly monster seriously before it is too late.
tommy of melbourne4:29pm June 04, 2009
Greg, you havent touched on the fact, that these same students are from families who have mercilessly persecuted the minorities particularly Christians and lower castes in India. These unfortunates are bashed and robbed, raped etc, yet no one knows. Secondly you talk of skills. The majority of these student have enrolled in vocational cookery classes mainly to gain residency. They have poor knowledge of English and will in all probability once they gain residency not integrate. Rather they will bring wives, and extended family over. I am not condoning any bashing, just touching on a motive
Danaldo of Melbourne 4:24pm June 04, 2009
Presumably for Greg Sheridan racism in Australia has come to exist since the end of the Howard government. This article is basically an excuse to criticise Labor governments. Where was Greg when the Howard government was encouraging racism by adopting One Nation's policies, turning the Tampa away, creating children overboard myths, agreeing with "axis of evil" rhetoric, denying the existence of the stolen generation, etc. Racism must be addressed at any time, not merely when Labor is in power.
Khadeland of Sydney4:13pm June 04, 2009
The chances of violence in Australia are very high with minor arguments ending up in stabbing. The attacks may have a racial element to it but they seem to be mostly opportunistic. Every state, including NSW, need to better their act in general crime control, the cops need to be out there to prevent crime from happening and not stay within the four walls of their offices. NZ was just voted the most peaceful nation in the world and its education system is not that bad, may be even better than Oz. The pollies better show some balls and stop this getting further out of hand.
Aussie Indian of Cherrybrook 4:00pm June 04, 2009
I have been living here now for 20 odd years, a citizen and committed to my homeland. Personally have not really experienced anything major, but violence is very dangerous. To think that because of my Indian origin and ethnicity I could be attacked, this is very concerning. My response will be that other indians 'passive indians' will have to mobilise ourselves and ensure that we are not abused. We will not not take this lying down and I fear this will lead to the formation of gangs and tit for tat attacks unless the issue is addressed. I think you all are forgetting the Indians that have been settled here with their families for many years, contributing to our wider society. We have to all consider our safety and the safety of our family.
Deepak 3:58pm June 04, 2009
Hi all, I am a person who was an international student in Melbourne and i am currently in Brisbane working. I agree with greg's article to a hundred percent. I dont call Australia a racist country, but skin colour does matter here.
Shyam Chabra of Fitzroy 3:55pm June 04, 2009
I wonder why the same reaction to claims of racism were not forthcoming when the ex-president of the AMA,Dr.Mukesh Haikerwal was savagely bashed not so long ago.He was lucky to survive this cowardly attack.It seems that too many are hiding in defensiveness,indifference and a concerted attempt to convey a message to government about the present entry policy.
Refugee of Melbourne 3:46pm June 04, 2009
I work in a job. I get into trouble because I dont treat other people from overseas in an appropriate manner. I have to be polite to them at all times and bow down to their needs, but, its o'k if they talk in their own language if Im standing there( because I might offend them if theyre talking bout me), they are rude and arrogant to me and yet I still get called a racist. Seems the racist word works if it is pointed one way, afterall, it takes a racist to know one and Im fast becoming a racist. The government doesnt care if our jobs are being lost to people from overseas, they get money and will be on a pension for the rest of their life, why should they care? A lot of asian or chinese malaysian Japanese hongkong, come out here and study also, then why is it that we sposedly only have a problem with Indian students and not them?? There is a v.ery deep underlying issue that people refuse to look at, or, until it starts to affect them! The Indians seem to make demands and the government bends to their needs, dont worry bout me mate, I just live here.
The Big Ship of Curmudgeon Cove3:36pm June 04, 2009
Good for you, Mr. Sheridan. It is refreshing to see a mainstream member of the Murdoch Press writing an article of substance on an important issue that needs to be decisively confronted by those in authority. You are absolutely correct in your assertion that the Brumby Government has tried to at first deny, then minimise the importance of dealing with this outbreak of racist violence against Indian students, who are among our community's most vulnerable, and therefore easiest targets for cowardly bigots to single out for attack and abuse. The feeble and belated Victorian police reaction to the original violence, and subsequent heavy handed over-reaction to the recent peaceful protests, has not shown our country, or it's citizens in a favourable light, and is justifiably being given airtime by overseas media. It is high time for the State and Federal Governments, and the various police administrations under their control, to act decisively to bring the perpetrators of these violent crimes to swift justice, and to be seen to be actively doing so. The last decade and more of 'dog whistle' politics on the issues of incipient racism in this country, and the potential for violence lying near the surface that can be brought to the boil by inaction and fear mongering, should be closed off as an historic and regrettable mistake now that the venal Howard regime is no longer in power. Let us move forward by denouncing these attacks for what they are - the racist acts of a small fringe of bigoted zealots - but ensuring that we do not minimise, or deny the existence of this strain of latent xenophobia that lurks just under the skin of our nation's body politic, by vowing to act when required to deal with the problem. We must remain vigilent against those individuals, or groups, whatever their status or position in politics or society, who would seek to take advantage of Hansonism, and its attendent ugly and violent manifestations, to further their reactionary and racist agenda.
navi of sydney 3:35pm June 04, 2009
I HATE THESE TYPE OF DISCRIMINATION. PEOPLE CAME FROM INDIA TALK ABOUT DISCRIMINATION. BUT WHY THEY NEVER TALK OR PROTEST AGAINAST DISCRIMINATION WHICH IS GOING ON IN THEIR OWN COUNTARY ON THE BASIS OF CAST SYSTEM. wHY THESE PEOPLE BELEIVE IN CAST SYSTEM IF THEY ARE FROM DISCRIMINATION FREE COUNTARY. I ANY ONE KONWS THE ANSWER PLEASE GIVE YOUR VIEWS SO THAT WE CAN DISCUSS IT
rob of box hill 3:17pm June 04, 2009
As a former taxi driver here in melbourne i've witnessed some appalling scenes of apathy from the vic police regarding theft by fare evasion from indian drivers by outer suburban aussie youth. On one occasion i helped an indian driver catch a youth who'd jumped the a fence in rowville , the driver positivly identified him as one of three that had done the runner, when the police finally arrived they said there was no eveidence to charge him and let the youth go. this was two hours pay that driver had lost. Another time i went with an indian driver , for moral support, into wantirna police station as he had actually seen the house a 'runner' had gone into, and then when i had arrived to help him, via the taxi company's help message system, the whole family had come out in defence of their theiving son, who was again positivly ID'd by the driver. Anyhow again the police where interested in more important things than theft from an indian, i was actually made to feel fairly intimidated just being there when i tried to insist the police take action in such a black and white case (no pun intended), my presence there hadn't help and it was after then that i realized the indian driver concerned was right when he'd said to me that the police would not help, i'd been the one who'd insisted that we go to the police station and not let this kid get away with blatent theft , so we both lost another hours pay on a busy night. Seems that the police probably are fairly tainted by racism themselves. Futhermore there have been countles occasions when my 'fellow aussie' passengers have confided in me how they abuse and deride and rob, by fare evasion, my 'towel headed curry munching' work comrades, its all seen as a big joke by them, no denying it, these fair eveasions are racially motivated, where i, as an 'aussie', counted about one a year,over 15 years driving, and mostly by a non 'white australian' group of passengers, these poor indians count one or two fare evasions a week if working the night shift, almost always by white australian youth,, and thats the truth.
dmadan of victoria3:16pm June 04, 2009
Hey Somebody in the past quoted about Graham Stein was burned in India. Please note that That was sort of extremist activity and entire India admitted this. All India condemned this and the accused is in Jail and being Punished. This is called as action against racism. While with all gadgets available police and govt kept on denying the facts of racist act. Can we see correct response from Govt. and Mr. Overland?
Shans of USA 3:01pm June 04, 2009
At last, I have read an article in an Australian media which delves into the real issue of racism which confronts Australia. When these senseless attacks were occuring, the Australian media were completely silent until the hell broke loose on the Indian media and led it to become an international issue. To recognise and accept that such a problem exists means substantial initial progress in dealing with the menace. I believe that the laws dealing with teenage crimes is very lax and parents of such offenders should be held accountable for their acts. Any country's future is its youth and Australia has been and will always be a land of immigrants. I appreciate the number of condemnation by the Australian people and some leading sportsmen. More of such reaction from Australian cricketers will go a long way in promoting faith and tolerant behaviour in this country and people which is a hallmark of a progressive democractic country.
jenny of australia2:43pm June 04, 2009
Please can someone tell me where the figure on 1500 assaults or robberies of Indian descent in Victoria come from? I can not find this source? The Victorian crime figures for 2007-08 do not contain this info. How does this rate compare for all other groups? What is the backround of those who are doing the crimes? That aside I do think that there needs to be better policing and also better information on staying safe provided to new arrivals. I have read some the extreme coverage in the indian press and it is truly appalling and extreme. If it was said hear the anti-discrimination laws would apply.
wilma of brisbane2:24pm June 04, 2009
The UK has closed 1500 International Schools operating as a front for Asian immigrants to obtain vizas as Students who then merge into the community never to be seen again. Can you assure us that this clever ruse is not occuring in Australia. In Melbourne last week a most unlikly door labled International School had a closed sign on it .
tom of lane cove nsw2:23pm June 04, 2009
Ask a fish what it's like to live in water, and the fish will reply 'Wter, what's water'? Ask an Australain whether his country is racist and he replies 'Us racist, don't be daft'. Furthermore, it is emotionally and psychologically extremely painful to face our shortcomings, individual or nation. The combination of psychoemotional defensiveness coupled with blindness makes it very difficult for Australians to tackle its racism. Look no further than your relations with Aborigines; in particular the genocidal episodes of the past. Guilt, rage and bottomless sadness sit just beneath the surface of this culture, for both whites and blacks. It is a massive challenge to face our shadow but Australia will not be able to move forward unless it begins to heal the weeping wounds of racism inherited from its savage beginnings. Most people are not intentionally racist and they require an ongoing national debate, a public forum with intellectual weight to help approach this most sensitive issue. The media along with politicians must lead this debate, and it is urgently needed. Compassion and kindness cannot flourish without the courage to face the truth.
Old Greg of Adelaide2:07pm June 04, 2009
I completely disagree with any analysis of this problem being removed from the VERY specific circumstances and turned in to a general rant about how white Australians are racist. There are so many reasons why indian students are being targeted in attacks like this and clearly not all of them are related to racial hatred - some are economic (steal laptops, ipods which students tend to carry) some are opportunistic (Indian students are generally passive people and less likely to fight back) and some are related to the environment (the areas of Melbourne that we're talking about arent' exactly affluent are they). Also, this article suggests that only white people are committing these attacks and it uses the stereotype of the red neck, hick, hillbilly white trash Anglo-Australian. We know for a fact that many of these attacks have been perpetrated by people who are not from Anglo-Celtic backgrounds. All of this generalisation about Australia being a racist country fits nicely with snobbish, inner-city, undergraduate social analysis but it simply doesn't reflect reality. Australia is not a racist country. Want proof? Compare the popularity and influence of ultra-right wing (nationalist/ethnic based) groups in Europe/UK and America and compare those numbers to Australia. Now that would be an OBJECTIVE way to measure the prevelance of racism in a society as opposed to these vague and opportunistic (and ideological) rants about Australia's 'underlying' racism. I think you'll find that we come out looking very good by comparison. Also, Asian countries in our region tend to label us a racist because of their own racist attitudes. Oh, woops, my mistake, of course they can't be racist because they're not white. And eveyone knows that only white people are racist - we're all just a bunch of hicks covered in tattoos.
VALDEREE 1:55pm June 04, 2009
Mr Sheridan: Instead of striving to whip up yet another white Aussie-bashing hysterical rave-fest, why not just stick to the facts? The Bleeding Hearts, civil liberties groups and political correctness are not only preventing the long suffering police from doing the job they want to do: they are also shielding the REAL CUPRITS of many of these attacks from being identified, prosecuted and, where applicable, deported (which is what should happen, in my opinion). We have enough home-grown problems without importing more from the four corners of the globe. We, as long suffering taxpayers, are being ripped off and rorted left, west and centre through the myriad immigration student scams that are currently allowed to flourish here. The government should act immediately and close these so-called 'colleges' down. The so-called 'students' who attend them are merely sneaky, back-door immigrants, taking up the places that should instead be granted to bona fide applicants. Finally: the root cause of these tensions within our once harmonious and happy communities? Well, I think this could easily be sorted out. The government should just hold a referendum and ask the Australian people whether or not they want a "multicultural" country. If that had been done in the first place (as it should have been, this being a 'democratic' country), then we would have saved ourselved an enormous amount of money and angst.
Sam of Adelaide1:50pm June 04, 2009
I rarely agree with Mr Sheridan, but I must say that he is absolutely correct with this one. Great piece Greg and thanks for calling a spade, spade. One only has to read the blogs in tabloids to realise how bigoted many Australians are. When faced with a criticism we have the great ability to bury our collective heads in sand and live in absolute denial. Rather than accepting the faults and do something about it, the usual response is to claim we are better than others. Sure, we may be better than the talibans, but it that enough for a civil society? There is absolutely no place for racism in a civil society like Australia and anyone who incites racial hatred should face full force of the law- and that goes for the shock-jocks and irresponsible journos.
Jenna of Geelong1:31pm June 04, 2009
Steven of North Perth - You think that people being judged purely by skin colour is an issue that deserves to be put on the backburner? There's no way an 'Australian' would viciously attack an Indian just because of blind prejudice? Open your eyes Steven, your own views may not be that far removed from the thugs, who also think the suffering of new Australians is nothing to be concerned about. Lower than a snake's belly.
Sean 1:29pm June 04, 2009
I hate agreeing with Greg, but he is absolutely spot on about this. The obsession with spin on the part of the relevant authorities has been utterly self defeating; it is clear that they all considered this a perception problem to be managed by soothing words. But there are a lot of mean bastards in the endless suburban sprawl that will need to be tackled with genuine action and genuine penalties.
CH of Melbourne1:24pm June 04, 2009
Greg, this is a shameful misrepresentation of the facts. As an Australian I have recently been branded a racist by the Indian media and it appears, many Indian students. This is a tremendously divisive approach and is not helpful in addressing the core, complex issue. It is appalling that any person is attacked. And if racism is part of the attack, that is disgusting. Show me the racists, show me the attack and I will be the first person to send them to jail. However the statistics dont stack up to the claim that these attacks are about racism.... the number of Indian students in Australia has dramatically increased (doubled since 2006), they take risky late night jobs, and in line with this, so have the number of attacks.....only some of this issue is about racism. I have never witnessed any racism against any Indian student. I have many friends of Indian background and they have never complained about racism to me. That said, I live in the inner eastern suburbs and I avoid dangerous situations... like late night train travel. Racism should be condemed in all forms, however I think the Federation of Indian Students in Australia needs to show some leadership, apologise for reverse racism that has arisen (eg All Australians are racists)... and work together with the Australian community to address something that is increasingly affecting both Australians and international students...street violence. And secondly, the data must be made available on all statistics, showing clearly the race of the attacker and the attacked so that any race issue can be identified and addressed.
GrumpyOldMan of Camberwell 1:20pm June 04, 2009
I read your article Greg looking for some evidence of the profile of the scum that go around bashing Indian students. Surely after 1500 bashings last year there must be some indication of whether they are being caused by some sub-group or other in our society? Instead of slagging off the state and federal government in your normal style, how about doing some real investigative journalism and informing us of the identity and motives of these criminals. Or is it just easier to assume it is racially based, rather than opportunistic and caused by alcohol abuse or need for drug money, because that suits your right-wing agenda?
md of Western Sydney 1:08pm June 04, 2009
I'm usually loathed to read Greg's articles, but I agree with everything he has said here. The government in Victoria should stop behaving as if there is no racial element to these crimes, this is just dragging their reputation down further. In general I believe there is too much of tolerance of street crime in Australia. It's risky to take a late night train. The streets are no-go zones in my area when its dark. Police response to complaints is lackadaisical and there are simply not enough patrols. Why can't we hire more police to patrol dangerous streets? Why can't I travel outside at night without fear? The government will tell you that they've installed CCTV cameras. Gee, thanks, lets sit idly by and watch street muggings and train bashings. I hope the community keeps up the pressure, and I am glad to see the economic consequences discussed, because this may be the only way that the government will take it seriously.
Ravinder Singh of Adelaide 1:01pm June 04, 2009
Dear Sir, I am pleased to see that some one has written about the plight of students especially Indian students. People should understand that Indian students are really facing problem not only in Victoria but in other States as well. I do not want to blame to Australian people because I believe 5 to 10% people who has no respect for other in Australia and you find these kind of people in every country even in India as well. Main problem is the attitude of police towards students. In my point of view, Australia cops are very friendly, honest and hard working but some time some cops do not see the cases of international students meticulously just because we are not citizen of Australia and that cause frustration among students. Every one has seen that frustration on the street of Melbourne. I think we should treat others the way we want to be treated ourselves by others. I believe that Australia is very peace full country and I am enjoying my time here. I appreciate you pointed out the facts. Thanking you Yours sincerely Ravi
Davis of Sydney12:52pm June 04, 2009
Greg, your article is spot on. I believe most nationalities hold racist views about other nationalities. it is almost part of human nature. However, the differences in Australia are that a) we have more opportunities, if we are un-disciplined and insensitive (and a lot of us are) enough, to express that racism due to our multi-cultural society, and b) racism seems to be more overt amongst Australians of white European background. It is unclear why, but it is certainly there. I myself am of white European background, born in Australia and married to an Asian girl. Amongst my circle of (white European) friends, there are casually racist remarks made all the time. It's so much part of the Aussie lingo that most people don't even notice they are saying such things, and are completely oblivious and ignorant to the effect on others. I notice, because I don't agree with their racist comments. I think the only answer for immigrants, visitors and all residents of Australia, is forced integration. By this I mean we need policies that force everyone to communicate and integrate with one another, rather than the current situation where each nationality (including those of white European background) huddles to itself. This only exacerbates the tension. Of all the nationalities that visit and/or emigrate to Australia, I have found those from the Sub-Continent to be the most willing to do this. It is an absolute shame on Australia that we treat them with such disgusting disrespect in return.
Steven Majewski of North Perth 12:47pm June 04, 2009
Why is that when a person of a non white appearance is assaulted they immediately claim racism, yet when a person of white appearance is assaulted by someone of non white appearance something which regularly occurs it is not considered a racist attack. Racism has become one of the most overdone & overhandled issues of our generation and it is time for it to be put on the backburner where it belongs.
Robert Taylor12:45pm June 04, 2009
Greg, Have a look at the Essendon Football Club in Melbourne for an example of a local business trying to improve social inclusion outcomes for international students. As part of their community development area, they've been running a program specifically for international students designed to get them involved with the club and its community. A great initiative which I don't think has got enough cudos to date. Good work Bombers !
susanna of Lindfield12:40pm June 04, 2009
Many people can be racists in big ways or small. But Australians are more so than others. They deny it ; they may not be aware of it ¿ simply because in their own country they are not at the receiving end. To be a racist, one does not have to take part in Cronulla riots. Take a look at the little things Australians do everyday that they are not consciously aware of. Here are a few examples Australians pride themselves on being egalitarian, easy going and tolerant. But this attitude is mostly towards other whites, especially Americans, but not Bosnians, Albanians, Serbians or Asians. Australians endorse a multiculture policy but blame new immigrants for tending not to integrate. How often to you see people at work befriending those who can¿t speak English well? Do schools and governments ever encourage to take the initiative? Integration can only be effaciously if it is a two way effort. A white naturalized immigrant is always described by newspapers as an Australian. Other naturalized or locally born citizens are always Chinese Australians, Vietnamese Australians or Lebanese Australians.
Darren Harlock of Tokyo 12:38pm June 04, 2009
Hi Greg - a couple of quick points: 1) More police on trains does nothing to combat the problem of 'racism' as such, and your article seems somewhat devoid of other ideas to help fix the problem. It is all fine and well to say "action, not words" - but what action are you suggesting? How should we fix the underlying culture of racism you identify in your paper? Or are you suggesting we fit all incoming Indian students with their own full body taxi driver protection screens? 2) Your point regarding Australian universities seems flawed at best. You seem to suggest that: a) US universities are more expensive, but better than Australia's b) AU is less expensive, but not as good as the US and then use that to suggest that Australian universities are "mercilessly" ripping off foreign students with regards value for money. Even if it were true that US institutions were of a higher quality (and I would hold that this is not generally the case outside of a select, elite group), this does not make sense - it becomes a simple cost/benefit analysis for the student. I accept that dodgy promoters may still attempt to scam students, but the government has CRICOS and other systems in place to deal with this, and the situation in Australia is much better than that in the UK for example in this regard. Finally I would note that at postgraduate level, fees for foreign students are very close to those paid by domestic students. I should know - I am paying only a couple of thousand less than international students to pursue my Masters at an Australian university at present. I agree that both racism and educational standards are worrying problems that requires continuing attention in Australia. Your article however smacks of sensationalism with very little proof or insight to back it up. Best regards, Darren
Dennis of Sydney12:26pm June 04, 2009
I whole heartedly agree with the article! Absolutely! But this is what happens when you "DONT" for "70 LONG YEARS" teach "anthropology" classes in the high schools! To teach all the kids, about the Angles-Saxons (Teutonic tribes) or the Celts, the American Indians, or Slavs, or Bantu, or Arabs, Phoenicians, Greeks, Malays, Han Chinese etc, etc,! "3RD WORLD" HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION SYSTEMS/CURRICULUMS IN AUSTRALIA HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO ALL THIS! FOR FAR TOO LONG! Most of the Anglo-Celtic kids running around these days "DONT" even know they are them! That they "ARE" the Celts & the Angles from yesteryear, who built all those castles & believed in the gods Thor & Oden! That's a start! And you can go from there by getting the likes of Andrew Bolt to silence his mouth & start behaving like a person too!
Nick of Sydney12:07pm June 04, 2009
These comments are spot on. I just hope that they are read and understood by those in authority in Govenment and education. The state and federal governments need to be jolted out of their inertia. The education sector needs a bit of goosing as well. For years they have been taking easy money from foreign students. If they want the gravy train to keep rolling they need to push for better physical protection of foreign students. 1500 robberies and assaults in such a small minority is not random, it's a pattern. Allowing it to continue is not merely stupid, it's cowardice in the face of thuggery.
Rob of Brisbane11:59am June 04, 2009
Greg, this is an excellent article. As someone married to a foreigner who arrived in this country originally to study English, I know exactly the kind of ramshackle institutions that you are referring to in the latter part of your article. Often these courses are just visa factories for foreign students who gain no educational benefit; nor do the schools even try to provide education, rather focusing on cashing in on students who come from less wealthy nations to improve their station in life. As for racism, my wife, and a number of our friends from the same Sth American country, experience horrendous levels of racism. The darker the skin colour, the worse it is, and our friends have also noted a nastier tone to racist remarks directed at Indian students. The notion of Australia as a "tolerant" society is a total furphy most of the time, in my experience. I don't even like the term "tolerant", which to me implies that we Australians just "put up with" the non-Anglo elements in our society. But this is an important discussion, this one about race and racism in Australia, and I commend you for placing it front and centre in this newspaper.
R Gibson of Cary US11:57am June 04, 2009
As an Aussy living in the US I can tell you that telling a foriegn student to go to the US instead of Australia to avoid racism is somewhat like jumping off boat to avoid getting wet from bow spray...need I say , LA Riots, Cincinatti Riots, Missisippi Burning, Lynchings, Civil War, Slave states...to name a few. You will never completely erase racism from Australia..but don't stop trying.
Steve of Canberra11:54am June 04, 2009
I'm not to sure if I agree with you about those last few paragraphs. But you're spot on re: the pathetic government response to these bashings. This is an absolute disgrace and more needs to be done to prevent it. The Victorian governments response is laughable and I'm glad you gave it some attention, if they don't lift their game, Melbourne will experience much more racial violence like this. Unacceptable.
Mathew of Singapore11:51am June 04, 2009
Thank you for finally pointing out where things are really going wrong. People like you, give Australia hope to progress and change for the better. Best Regards, Mathew
Fazal of Melbourne11:46am June 04, 2009
Greg, most of the assaults on Indians have been by African or Asian gangs/individuals. This facet of the problem should not be glossed over. Violence like this, per se, cannot be tolerated in our society and the police should be released from their shackles of political correctness and allowed to get on with the job.
wolf boy of alexandria 11:32am June 04, 2009
'Most importantly, Australian higher education leads to a track for a permanent residency visa.' is that why we have so many foreign students doing administrative courses or hospitality courses? why do we make it so easy for anyone (bar refugees on a leaky boat)to gain permanent residence? would they come otherwise? this is rorting of the highest order.
Zoe 11:20am June 04, 2009
Agree. Such a disgrace, not just for Melbourne, but whole Australia. Not a citizen, but feel somehow ashamed of what has been happening. Still a beautiful place to be, but with doubts.
leah of burwood, melbourne - australia11:19am June 04, 2009
I was born in Asia and came to Australia as a five month old baby.. the racial abuse I accepted blindly while growing up in the country was disgusting and my older brother - adopted from Bangladesh received the same sort of close minded discrimination. My family moved to Melbourne and we found it to be a place more accepting of the worlds different cultures and creeds and that's why it is so terrible that the Brumby government chose to approach this crisis with such a blatant refusual of the facts. If Melbourne is becoming the home for racially incited violent attacks they must take measures to stop our city from becoming a haven for those who are violating one of our most basic human rights - the right to safety. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of human rights.. 'Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person'. The inaction of the Victorian government is NOT a reflection of the majority of Melbournians. I attend Deakin University and know that many people are in support of our Indian Students' Asspcoation. A facebook group has been created by the members of our community desperately wishing to communicate to International students that violence and this racial discrimination is not acceptable. As much as I praise Simon Overland for his efforts in stamping out organised crime, denial of racial vilification is embarrassing. You aren't looking at our country if you are putting these crimes simply down to 'opportunistic' motives. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=100018959248
Tony Mc of Lower Mitcham SA 11:16am June 04, 2009
There seems to be the assumption that all racist attackers are white anglo saxons. When several Japanese were assaulted in north Queensland some time ago there was anti-racist outrage until it was revealed that the attackers were aboriginal and then all outrage instantly stopped. It seems that the authorities are frightened to tackle non-white racists for fear of being labelled as racist themselves.
Timmyk of Adelaide11:13am June 04, 2009
It is rare indeed that I agree 100% with Greg Sheridan, but I think he has pretty much nailed it here. As a caucasian Australian student in Adelaide, I can't help but notice the disconnect between 'Us' and 'Them'. There seems to be little sustained effort on the universitys' part to encourage interaction between students of different backgrounds, and when there is it often comes in the form of some boozy international party at the bar, or bbqs with those cheap snags of questionable providence. You don't need to be a Phd in cultural sensitivity to realise that a lot of Asian students arent big drinkers, and that they may not be so culinarilly inclined towards dodgy sausages. Thankfully our situation as regards violence against foreign students doesn't seem as bad here in Adelaide as in Melbourne, but violence still occurs, and I'm sure many foreign students would have a story to tell. As for the business side of it all, to me uni seems increasingly resembles a degree factory, where foreign students are transplanted for three or four years, only to return home without really engaging with Australians or experiencing our rich culture. I really think that is the great shame of it all, and I think that universities are perfectly placed, and indeed obliged to fix this problem. Well done Greg.
pesky of Melbourne10:59am June 04, 2009
I don't usually agree with Greg Sheridan, but on this issue he is dead right! One of Victoria's unstated problems in recent years is the huge increase in violent "street crime" generally, and the pathetic inadequacy of both police and the courts to treat it with the seriousness it deserves. The attacks on Indians in particular have at last brought public attention to this escalating and wider problem. Unfortunately the track record of Brumby and his Attorney-General Hulls don't inspire confidence that anything other than spin will be delivered from the State Government. For years Hulls has been appointing his Legal Aid cronies to the judiciary with the consequence that serious violent offenders (if they are caught)are given derisory penalties and let straight back out onto the streets.
shalenjanapriti of melbourne 10:52am June 04, 2009
Australia's racist police and the white govt. will never never admit that Indians have been racially attacked in this country.Australia's dark secrets are all over the world.Australia stinks of racism and hate crimes against Indians and other coloured people. Not only Indians in this country are racially attacked, they are further exploited financially.If you stay in melton, sunshine, footscray and other parts of melbourne which are strong hold of the white extremist group then only you'll realise the extreme nature of the problem and various forms of torture the white extremeist groups use on Indians..
Protea of Moruya10:39am June 04, 2009
At last some sensible commentary (along with Jack the Insider) about these horrible assaults. I am a life-long Labor voter but thought that NSW had the record for spin and dishonesty. However the Victorian Government's behaviour (including the Police Commissioner) on this issue, and their reliance on decptive rhetoric and spin, is far, far worse. They are a disgrace to Australia.
Emma of melbourne10:36am June 04, 2009
I agree and would also like to suggest that the schools that are profiting so greatly from these students should be required to provide support. Many of these students are attending privately owned "colleges" or "institutes" in the CBD that most of us Aussies never hear much of because 100% of the enrolments are international students. These schools need to be more accountable for the safety of their own students. For example, offering daytime classes instead of compulsory night time only classes, helping with affordable accommodation in safer areas and within reasonable commuting distances from the schools and generally being flexible and accommodating to the needs of international students. It was great that the Australian banker living in Tokyo offered to pay for the parents of the recent screwdriver stabbing victim to fly to Melbourne from India, but it would have been better if the owners of that student's school had considered that themselves.
Mick of Bilgola10:31am June 04, 2009
Typical Vic.police response-minimize the gravity of the situation,so they don't have to concern themselves in any unusual way.The new commissioner should now show his true worth. Difficult problem-the only immediate answer is determined police action.To expect a quick cultural change regarding appropriate behavior and underlying racism is asking too much.
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