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The Forum > General Discussion > SBS Immigration Nation: a sorry tale again?

SBS Immigration Nation: a sorry tale again?

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I watched the program with intense interest, as I am an Australian with Chinese heritage. The program is visually sophisticated and well made overall.

However, I have found the selection of content and the ideology behind the story less agreeable. They are just too one-sided, and only represent a narrow view of a small part of the Australian community, which, I am afraid, would damage the credibility of the program.

The critical view on the White Australia Police is undoubtedly well founded, but over banging it by devoting a great part of the episode is overkill, which sunk the program into an all too familiar left-wing ranting that destroyed any sense of balance in representing a nationís history.

For example, the establishment of Australia Commonwealth was a conscious commitment to build a progressive, democratic, and equal society. We as audience want to see how it was conceived, and how it was implemented, also, whom were the people making the most contributions, even with the obvious defects such as the White Australia Police.

You simply couldnít not build anything slightly resemble the Australia society just by imposing the WAP! There must be something more than that! What are they? The program simply ignores any of them: those ordinary men and women who set up businesses through the spirit of free enterprise, those pioneers who opened up the great interior for new opportunities, those politicians and intellectuals who advanced the cause of an ever fair and decent society, and much more.

The way in which the program represents the Australian history will inevitably give the following impression: Australia by and large is a conservative and reactive, or even racist society. It only changes under pressures without. In other words, the reason why Australia has become a country as we know today is that she has done what she was forced to do, rather than what she wanted to do. The audience will see in future episodes how Australia bowed to pressure within and without to introduce and accept the Southern Europeans, the War brides from Japan, the influx of Vietnam boat people.
Posted by Peng, Monday, 10 January 2011 10:42:33 AM
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Peng welcome afraid I am not in favor of any white Australia policy past or present.
I am of convict stock and white.
But we are not the people who once supported that policy.
Your people like migration from every country have helped build this country.
We Australians are no more or less racist than any other race.
And like any race have our fair share of lunatic fringe people.
Now after all that good work I just must destroy my image.
Honesty demands I say what I think.
Far too many Muslims are on arrival, noting the differences not the things we cam find common ground in.
I would gladly look for migrants from other places.
Bigoted? if so let it be that way, but my view is shared by many.
A debate on a PAC yesterday was a warning, Bob Carr was debating, along with others a young Muslim, the refusal to budge, to see Australians had a right to a view was there.
So if you must,put me in the bin as xenophobic but the migration debate/regugees would be less heated if certain groups did not isolate them selves.
Posted by Belly, Monday, 10 January 2011 3:51:07 PM
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Thanks Billy.
Cannot agree more with you.
the moderator of the forum rejected the second part of my post, here it is: (I hope Australia is not China where freedom of speech is non-existent)

It is simply not true, at least not entirely true. The basic truth is that we, as migrants, come to Australia because we admire the country for what it is, with all its shortcomings and flaws. We come here not to make it like China, or like any other country. We come here to live like Australians, not to live as we did in our old land, in spite of our lingering feelings towards our places of origin.

Letís be very clear here: it was not our choice to be born as Chinese, Italians, or Vietnamese, but to be an Australian is our conscious decision, and the reason is simple: it is better to be an Australian! We are all ABCs: Australian By Choice! We appreciate what Australia stands for, and we understand, though not necessarily agree with, the strong inclination among the white population to preserve their own cultural, national, even racial identity. The whites, just as any race, are entitled to defend what is legitimately theirs, as long as they don't not violate other people's rights.

While the spirit of self-criticism is always a vital part of an open society, we should not lose our sense of balance in representing our history.

By the way, when Australia becomes a muslim country, I have to go to New Zealand, if that country is still as it is now.
Posted by Peng, Monday, 10 January 2011 4:28:29 PM
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Peng:

I also watched the program however I got a totally different view of it than you did. To me it seemed that all that was being shown was
the historical record leading to the White Australia Policy and some examples the policy has had on non-white, non-Anglo inhabitants of this country. Be aware that its only the first part of a three-part series,and lets look forward to see the further development before we pass judgement. It's only a brief attempt to bring history to present-day generations and recent immigrants, who may not be aware of the past.It just might encourage those who are interested to learn more to go to our libraries and read up on the details - getting a fuller picture which they might appreciate. Every group that has come to Australia has faced a lot of intolerance however eventually most groups do integrate as effectively as all the other groups have done.
Muslims have been part and parcel of this country for decades - problems arise usually as a result of extremists within any given group and its wrong to tarnish others because of that, be they white,
black, brown or yellow.
Posted by Lexi, Monday, 10 January 2011 6:11:40 PM
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I take great interest in reactions to this series.

I watched it and thoroughly enjoyed it, though my own immigration came at a period much later than that covered so far. I think the episode in question did focus quite heavily on our inherent historical racism, but put a new spin on it. It's good to see coverage of the 'social engineering' aspect of the development of Australia as a nation, as this is often downplayed. The people behind the scheme(s) weren't your regional rednecks, opposed to all change and all others. They were progressive intellectuals and they genuinely believed that they were building the purest, greatest nation in the world. I think the show emphasised that quite well, highlighting the different - largely extinct - form of racial prejudice that existed back then.

I was also impressed with their choice of interview subjects. Rather than firebrands and angry people screaming 'racism' and 'prejudice', they were quite stoic. They acknowledged the harshness of our old policies, but didn't seem to call for Australians to feel guilty about our past administrations' misdeeds.

I'll be looking forward to the next two episodes.
Posted by Otokonoko, Monday, 10 January 2011 6:23:29 PM
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I too really enjoyed the program Otokonoko.

I really feel that it encapsulated exactly how it was back in the first half of the 20th century here in Australia.
A truly fascinating multicultural history of our great country :)

Peng, I was interested in your comments right up to the little gem:
"By the way, when Australia becomes a muslim country, I have to go to New Zealand, if that country is still as it is now."

How would you have felt when resident Australians, back in the early days of the 20th century, said the same thing about Chinese immigrants coming to this country?

We are multicultural in this country- and that includes Muslims.
Posted by suzeonline, Monday, 10 January 2011 10:08:54 PM
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