It’s been bewildering watching Australia drift back toward a past where White Australia impulses rejected by Holt, McMahon and Fraser have re-proliferated in conservative minds. It’s a rationale more extreme than apartheid in South Africa, for, instead of segregating black and white societies within a common country, it seeks to deny, prevent and deligitimise the very existence of non-white communities. Labor, spineless in their pursuit of a perceived identity-based voter in the marginals since Beasley at least, far from offering any impactful opposition, instead contribute to the naturalisation of these ideas.
When he called the 2000 election, Howard said “this election more than any other will be about leadership”. Howard said, “Beasley does not have the ticker”. When the Tampa crossed the horizon, Beasley proved him right. Faced with that first poll coming out of A Current Affair (the Fox News of the day) Beasley fumbled for a day or two trying to work out his position, before falling behind the polls of Howard’s Australia, thus initiating a pattern which remains into this current election campaign. A Whitlam, Hawke or Keating would not have taken a breath to consider right from wrong. A generation of change toward a society where diversity is recognised as one of our greatest strengths was subverted.
A decade later, the Gillard government was very self-congratulatory about its “forward thinking” Asian Century White Paper, an Orientalist document which megaphoned that we are open and responsive to Asia, so long as there’s a dollar in it. A paper which failed to see “Asia” as anything other than “them”, oblivious to the Asia within us.
The Gillard government were spruiking it at the very time that, in response to a perception that Asian kids were exploiting an unfair advantage in the HSC, the Kenneally Labor government in NSW was implementing a handicap for HSC students wanting to study the first language of a migrant parent, thus knobling what would otherwise be our greatest asset in integrating with Asia – Australians who share part of their heritage with the people with whom the ALP wished to engage.
Would we handicap kids in HSC English if one or more of their parents spoke English as their first language?
Though it’s since been tweaked, Kenneally’s “Heritage Language” handicap continues to discourage kids who might otherwise have an advantage in developing language skills to a level that would equip them for Australian business, government, and cultural engagement outside the Anglosphere. The same Labor twits will say we need more kids studying Asian languages, more teachers equipped to teach them, and more citizens literate in Asian language and cutlure. For all their virtue signalling, on a fundamental level, they’re just as incapable as the conservatives at conceiving an Australian citizen with Asian eyes.