Australia is a lucky country but can't we be more smart and independent ?
The SMH (6Jun2020) reported that China advised their citizens not to travel to Australia due to “an alarming increase” in discrimination and violence towards Chinese people in relation to the covid-19 pandemic. The HK SCMP (6Jun2020) also carried the same story entitled “China warns against travelling to Australia after ‘sudden rise’ in violent attacks”
In response, the Minister for Trade and Tourism Minister in denying the allegation citing “no basis in fact”; and Deputy PM Michael McCormack citing “false information”.
These denials contradicted the information found on the Australian Human Rights Commission website where one third of all racism complains received were due to COVID-19 and it could be the tip of the iceberg. Osmund Chiu’s survey with Asian Australian Alliance and Being Asian Australia showed, in April 2020 there were 386 documented racists incidents including abuse, physical intimidation and spitting; with 90% of racist incidents not reported to the Police and the vast majority were perpetrated by strangers in public places (SMH 7Jun2020) with intent to harm.
Both denials of racism have made us a laughing stock internationally as such information is available and often reported by media in HK, Singapore and ASEAN countries.
National President of Chinese Community Council of Australia Dr Anthony Pun reacted to these reports in SMH: “Government Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham and Deputy PM Micheal McCormack, your words that “no racism in Australia” hurt 1.2 million Chinese Australians. You could not have got it more wrong than that. You both have shown that you would rather throw us under the bus of racism.”“Take a ride: (1) on our Constitution. In the 1967 referendum, we got rid of the most offensive provision that denied indigenous people to be counted in the population census. The word “race” still renders parts of the Constitution, debatable for ambiguity and discrimination. (2) on the Polls Tax, Resident Tax and Factories Act as discriminatory legislations before Federation 1900. The Victorian government in 2018 formally apologized for the Poll Tax. (3) at the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 which was profoundly discriminatory against non- whites. This so called White Australia Policy was repealed in 1974. The stink remains. (4) on Race Discrimination Act s 18 C. George Brandis preached that one has ‘right to offend and be a bigot’". We sincerely offer our Ministers the experience and the opportunity to trade places for a Chinese Australian and live in our skins in your communities.”
Perhaps the Ministers should have discussed with PM Morrison to find a more constructive way in their responses. If Australia is looking to repair her poor relations with China, we should learn the trade of constructive dialogue and some mutual respect. And reassure China that our law enforcements will protect the Chinese visitors; tourists, students, businesses etc and the 1.2 million Chinese Australians citizens as well anywhere in Australia.
If Australia is going to recover economically in the shortest time, it has to mend relations with China now. This is no longer just a threat. It has become a self-fulfilling prophesy if we siding with Trump on the trade war with China. We have to stand up for Australia's own national interest and not Trump's election plot. Australians' jobs and future of their children are in danger. We are please to see the former Defence Minister Christopher Pyne's opinion piece published on Herald Sun 8 June " Trump's immaturity as leader laid bare". We should be very careful dealing with Trump administration.
Why are we so callous about these bread and butter issues for Australian economic security despite many calls for restraint in anti-China bashings from many brainy former Prime Ministers, Ministers, business entrepreneurs, diplomats and university professors etc. Their candid advices in John Menadue Blog and many other more independent media outlets, urging improvement in the Australia-China Relations before it is too late, are ignored. We hope we will not be sinking into deep recession and depression because of some unwise decisions we made by blindly following Trump administration since 2016.
Kingsley Liu, LLB, Vice-President, Chinese Community Council of Australia.
Dr Anthony Pun, OAM, National President, CCCA; Dr Ka Sing Chua, National Senior Adviser, CCCA and National Chinese Australian Leaders Group: Maria Chan, Robert Chong, AM,
Shirley Huang, Dickson Mak, Daphne Lowe Kelly, James Leung, Lee Xj Li, Suellyn Lin, Daphne Lowe, Tony Pang, Tony Tang & Dr Yen-Yung Yap