Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Indian Students Australia - the real lessons

This is the third and, hopefully, the last post I will write on this issue.

I explored the general issue in Australia's Indian Students - a wake-up call for Australia. In Harris Park, Indian Students and the latest Sydney troubles I looked at a specific case. This lead Anon to point me to a specific opinion piece by Peter Sheehan in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

I write against the background of a comment by our PM that, in absolute terms and relative to the size of the population, more Australians have been killed or attacked in India than is the case of Indians in Australia. I have no doubt that Mr Rudd is correct. None of this matters a damn.

Australia has no choice but to react to current problems on both economic and moral grounds.

On economic grounds, education is a key export earner. The current problems will cost us heavily. On moral grounds, and as I have said, Indian students are our guests.

If we are going to seek international students we must look after them. However, we also have to be careful.

We must display caution in local reporting. We should also expect Indian students and others in the Indian community to observe our laws. An attack by 200 on a Lebanese restaurant, if true, is not observing our laws. 

Solutions to the apparent  conflict in Sydney have to be worked out at local level. Melbourne has different problems, although there too local issues must be considered.

My plea remains. Regardless of the economic damage all this does to Australia, let us take a cool view and think of this in people terms. 


Unknown said...

The comment by your PM shows his lack of concern about an issue which he is duty bound by your own law on Human rights of 1986.Today he said in NDTV "more Indian students are attcked in UK,USA and France than Australia."
The issue here is Indian students are coming to study by paying money.Some may be working to earn some pocket money.If your nation cannot stomach it , then they should be frankly told about it.But covering up for racism or thug attacks by a PM who is close to Australian Mining intersts who export to China is not worthy of a democratically elected PM.

Jim Belshaw said...

I am not sure about your comment CJ. it is true, I think, that Indian students are safer in Australia than some other countries. Still, that's beside the point. We have a responsibility to look after our guests.

I do not think that the question of Indian students working has anything to do with the issue, nor Mr Rudd's views of the Chinese.

Nor, for that matter, anything about covering up. It is hard to talk about covering up when an issue has received saturation Australian media coverage.

One of my points in all this has been the need to be aware of the facts. In Harris Park, for example, we have a previously Lebanese dominated community that is now Indian dominated because of the arrival of students and others. The attacks here have nothing to do with the broader Australian community.

To suggest that if Australia cannot stomach it we should say so is purely insulting and at variance with the facts.

I am not intending to be rude. I am suggesting that you should do a little investigation. If I am wrong, please give me more evidence.

Jim Belshaw said...

I wrote my response in a hurry while I was overseas. CJ, I hope that you didn't think me too abrupt in responding. I just think that the reporting on this issue does not necessarily mesh with the facts.

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