Integration is still a long way off

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 March, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 March, 1996, 12:00am

IT'S all very well for 'Name and Address Supplied' (letter, South China Morning Post, March 5) to say that Australia and New Zealand are in the 'Asian part of the world'.

However, the mindset of most white Australians and New Zealanders is that, if it was at all possible, they probably would like to remove their islands away from Asia, perhaps to re-locate them somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, nearer to Britain and America.

It is true that a country like Australia has made great strides to 'engage with Asia' particularly over the past decade under the Labor government, but look where the far-sightedness of Labor leaders has got them: their party was routed by the conservative coalition whose leaders think that the government was 'far too obsessed with Asia'.

The conservative parties pay allegiance to the British queen, and racist sentiments are rife within the group (which probably reflect community sentiments).

The Australian media, in general, pays scant attention to Asia, and it is a good bet that ordinary Australians couldn't care less about the fact that they are part of the region. Little wonder that Dr Mahathir Mohamad should insist that Australia does not belong. Geography isn't enough to qualify Australia and New Zealand as part of Asia. They should do more.

Becoming a republic could help, but it would be at least two or three generations (if that) before the mindsets of most Australians and New Zealanders could be re-adjusted towards Asia where they belong.