Don't Discriminate by Race and Religion in Immigration

Last night, Australian Senator Fraser Anning gave a sickening first speech in Parliament where he  applauded the White Australia Policy, called for the explicit discrimination against people from non-European backgrounds and a “final solution” for immigration in Australia.  

Non-European communities in Australia are almost 25% of the population - but we still continue to endure an onslaught of attacks because of the colour of our skin, our cultures and our faiths.

Almost to this day thirty years ago, the Australian Parliament explicitly stated its commitment to a racially and religiously non-discriminatory immigration policy after then-opposition leader John Howard motioned for a cut to ‘Asian’ immigration.

Now is the time for every politician in Parliament to denounce Senator Anning’s statements by explicitly saying they stand for a country that does not discriminate against people because of their ethnic background or how they worship.

Can you call on the Parliament to condemn and resist these attempts to divide the country?

 

Just last week, Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, said that “race politics is back”  and that the biggest threats to racial harmony come from within our parliaments and from sections of our media.

In the last month, Australia’s most syndicated news columnist Andrew Bolt singled out Chinese, Cambodian, Indian and Jewish communities for “changing our culture”, former Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott compared Australia’s acceptance of African migrants to “storing up trouble for ourselves,” and Sky News asked a neo-Nazi to comment on Muslim immigration.

But Senator Anning’s speech, shouting for the introduction of discrimination, and threatening us with a "final solution"–  language used by the Nazi regime before they committed genocide against the Jewish, Roma and LGBTI+ people – marks the most dangerous moment yet.

Unless politicians stand up and explicitly rule out discrimination, racist elements in our society will continue to be encouraged. As Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton found, there has been an alarming 34 per cent rise in racist incidents in our streets, shops, schools and public spaces in just one year partly due to the rise in political rhetoric. If our Parliament doesn't stand up now, things will only get worse.

References
[1] ‘Senator honours White Australia Policy in first speech and calls for 'final solution' on immigration’, The Age, 14 August 2018.
[2] Hansard Parliamentary Record, 25 August 1988
[3] ‘Soutphommasane says sections of media exploit racism to make money’, The Conversation, 6 August 2018.

image_19061_full.jpeg