Tag: racism

Australian Muslims (63%) believe Australia welcoming society; despite 80% face prejudice: AHRC report

Photo- AHRC

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 23 July 2021: A recent report by the Australian Human Rights Commission, SHARING THE STORIES OF AUSTRALIAN MUSLIMS reveals 63 % of Australian Muslims believe Australia is a welcoming society, despite an even greater majority (80%) experiencing prejudice or discrimination.

It found three in four (74%) Australian Muslims said they felt ‘Australian’, but one in four (23%) said they felt unable to speak up when they experienced discrimination.

Graphic- AHRC

Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan says, “Australia’s Muslim communities make significant economic, community and charitable contributions to Australian society, yet they still experience widespread discrimination.

“Australia prides itself on being a diverse country, where equality and opportunity are afforded to all. If we are to live up to these values, urgent national attention is required to improve social cohesion. Supporting and including diverse communities enriches the whole country.”

Commissioner Tan says the report underlines the need for a National Anti-Racism Framework and clear goals and commitments on tackling racism.

“It’s not enough to simply condemn racism. We need a coordinated strategy that works on many fronts to actively counter racism at the various levels that it occurs,” Commissioner Tan said.

The report details nine solutions that Australian Muslims have identified to help improve social harmony with the broader community and increase cultural acceptance.

Graphic- AHRC

These include stronger support from the Australian community and political leaders, improved media representation, public awareness education, and better implementation of existing initiatives.

The report’s findings are based on a national, representative survey of more than 1000 Australian Muslims, and extensive consultations with community members and leaders across Australia.

The report examines the Muslim community’s concerns and priorities in the wake of the tragic Christchurch mosque attack. It includes many examples of social harmony and cultural acceptance, but these are offset by experiences of hate, violence, and negative public commentary.

‘Garbage’ and ‘cash cows’: temporary migrants describe anguish of exclusion and racism during COVID-19

800x450 migrants luggage

By Bassina Farbenblum* & Laurie Berg**

In early April, Prime Minister Scott Morrison sent a clear message to temporary visa holders that if they were no longer financially solvent to ride out the pandemic, they were not welcome in Australia.

As much as it’s lovely to have visitors to Australia in good times, at times like this, if you are a visitor in this country, it is time […] to make your way home.

As our new research published today shows, this statement fuelled feelings of abandonment and worthlessness among temporary visa holders who have been left out of the government’s economic support schemes during the COVID-19 crisis.

In our survey of more than 6,100 temporary visa holders (including international students, backpackers and holiday workers), many used stark, dehumanising language to describe how they’ve felt since the pandemic began in Australia six months ago:

like we do not exist

aliens who don’t belong here

inanimate objects

discarded, unimportant, and expendable



Others recounted harrowing experiences of racist attacks — being punched, kicked, shoved and deliberately spat at or coughed on by passers-by — as well as a range of xenophobic slurs.

For many of our respondents, this has destroyed their sense of belonging in Australia and fundamentally changed their perceptions of the country and its leaders.

‘ATMs of the Australian government’

Our earlier research, and that of other scholars, has documented how temporary visa holders have suffered financially during the crisis.

These visa holders include international students, backpackers, graduates, sponsored workers and refugees. Many work in casualised industries, such as hospitality and retail, lost their jobs and struggled to meet basic living expenses.

There are more than one million temporary visa holders in Australia — who may comprise up to 10% of Australia’s workforce — but they have been excluded from the federal JobKeeper and JobSeeker support schemes.

In our latest survey, thousands of respondents voiced their distress and anger at the government’s lack of support during lockdown. Many felt their only value to Australia was as a revenue stream, since they worked here and paid taxes or spent considerable sums to study at universities.

A striking number used words such as “cash cows”, “money-making plants”, “ATMs of the Australian government” and “walking moneybags”.

Many felt callously used for their cheap labour. A Russian master’s student said:

We paid taxes. We did all dirty work Australians don’t want to do and what about us? […] It is nice to have invisible cheap workers that will be silently committing to work when you and your family can stay at home or work from home and get government support and don’t lose any money.

International students, in particular, have been encouraged by the government and universities to invest heavily in Australia — often spending their life savings — to set up new lives here. Many stay for at least five years — a three-year bachelor’s degree followed by a two-year temporary graduate visa.

As one French graduate visa holder put it:

some of us have been here for years and consider Australia like our home now. Quitting everything we have done and been through is just unimaginable.

Racist slurs and taunts

For some, their experiences have gone beyond social exclusion to overt racism. Almost a quarter of our respondents said they had been subjected to racist verbal abuse since the pandemic began in March. And a quarter said people avoided them because of their appearance.

More than half (52%) of Chinese respondents reported experiencing at least one of these forms of racism, as did more than 40% of those from other East Asian and Southeast Asian countries.

We also received more than 1,600 personal accounts of targeted xenophobic slurs, such as people saying “coronavirus”, “Chinese virus”, “Asian virus” or worse to them in public or at work.

One Chinese woman noted:

a stranger shouted in my face that I am the virus in the supermarket.

Another international student observed this kind of harassment

is a regular thing for Asian people in Australia.

In an echo of the prime minister’s words, many respondents from a range of nationalities reported being told to “get out of Australia”.

As one Colombian student put it,

I received many comments from Australian[s] telling me leave the country, go back your home, ask you[r] family for money, respect the Australian people.

An Indian student recalled being told

to go back to my country by random strangers on the street while working as an Uber Eats delivery man.

Abandoning people in their time of need

Clearly, the impact of the exclusion felt by these temporary visa holders will far outlast the pandemic.

The government’s failure to support these vulnerable people has the potential to profoundly impact Australia’s global reputation. The country’s education and tourism sectors will also likely suffer the economic consequences for years to come.

Of the students and working holiday makers in our survey, 60% indicated they are now less likely or much less likely to recommend Australia as a place to study or work.

This includes international students from important education markets like China and Nepal (76% and 69% less likely to recommend Australia, respectively).

Our survey reveals the financial situation of many respondents is rapidly worsening, with more than a third of international students indicating they will run out of funds by next month.

The government must use the October budget to rectify the exclusion of temporary migrants from social support measures.

If it is not compelled to act for ethical or diplomatic reasons, it should at least listen to the observations of one survey respondent. This is emblematic of the sentiments expressed by thousands more:

Australia showed its true colours when it came to international students. They call us friends but then abandon us in our time of need. I think Australia will struggle to attract international students after the disgraceful treatment and lack of compassion shown during COVID.

* Associate professor, UNSW
** Associate Professor, University of Technology Sydney

Source- The Conversation, Sept 17, 2020 (Under Creative Commons Licence)

Nitin Garg killer gets 13 years imprisonment

By Neeraj Nanda

Melbourne, Dec 22, 2011: A Melbourne teenager has been sentenced to 13 years imprisonment for the killing of Indian overseas student Nitin Garg one year back. The teenager will serve minimum of 8 years imprisonment and after that will be eligible for parole.
Delivering the verdict, the judge said Nitin Garg was knifed with a folding knife for his mobile phone and that he “was an innocent and random victim” and it was his presence in the park, not his race, that led to the fatal attack.
The killing of Nitin Garg had led to diplomatic tensions between India and Australia. The tragedy came amidst many other attacks on Indian overseas students in Melbourne and Sydney. The attacks led to a dramatic decline in Indian students coming to Australia for studies.